Labor’s e-scooter confusion cruises through summer

Thursday 04 January, 2024

Almost a year after the Opposition introduced a Bill into Parliament that would have made private e-scooters legal to ride in public spaces in South Australia – local retailers say customers remain unhappy and confused over local laws.

Right now, only e-scooters hired from operators who have a partnership with councils can be used on footpaths and shared paths in selected trial areas.

Those caught riding their own devices in public face fines worth close to $2,000.

The Opposition’s Bill would have brought us in line with other states and allowed e-scooter owners to enjoy their devices legally and without fear of copping a hefty fine – but Labor voted down the legislation without reason and have been dragging their feet when it comes to introducing their own laws ever since.

The Malinauskas Labor Government’s community consultation into legalising private e-scooters was completed more than seven months ago – but despite 87 per cent of respondents supporting the ongoing use of e-scooters on public roads and paths, Labor said it’s still “considering all feedback”.

Retailers say there is a growing demand to purchase e-scooters due to it being a cost-effective, eco-friendly mode of transport – but many potential buyers are being left baffled by the rules.

Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Vincent Tarzia, said the e-scooter community is desperate for the confusion to end.

“Navigating the current e-scooter laws is like riding through a maze and it’s about time Labor creates a clear pathway forward,” Mr Tarzia said.

“If Labor supported our legislation all the way back in February private e-scooters would be legal in public right now – but instead we’ve hit another summer where they’re banned.

“The double standard that exists right now between hired and private devices is frustrating for South Australians who own or wish to purchase an e-scooter.

“Enough of the review roadblocks – it’s time Peter Malinauskas commits to removing the e-scooter hurdles and embraces this green and convenient mode of transport.”

Under the Liberals’ legislation, e-scooter riders would have been exempt from needing registration and wouldn’t need to hold a driver’s licence or learner’s permit.

E-scooters and similar devices would not have been permitted to travel over 25km/h per hour, on roads with dividing lines, median strips or where the speed limit is greater than 50km/h and must keep as far to the left side of the road as is practicable.