Electric scooters are an efficient, sustainable and affordable way to travel short distances, and have become increasingly popular over recent years.

Gail Blaber

Gail Blaber

Head of Queensland CTP Claims | Brisbane

However, they do not come without risks and unfortunately, we have seen a rising number of personal injuries – and consequent CTP claims – arising from their use. Whether you’re hiring an electric scooter for a short trip across the CBD, or are considering purchasing one for your commute, there are a few basic safety precautions and road rules that you should be aware of to make your ride as safe as possible.

Safety Check

First, when getting onto or hiring a scooter, you should always do a quick safety check to make sure everything is working as it should – particularly the brakes, steering and bell/horn. If you are riding at night, you should have a functioning light so cars and pedestrians can easily see you approaching. If you’re hiring a scooter, you should also familiarise yourself with it before you get on your way, as different models may vary. And of course, you should always, always wear a helmet!

Footpath or Road?

Electric scooters should primarily be used on the footpath and it’s actually illegal to use them on the road in most circumstances. According to the Queensland Road Rules, electric scooters must not be ridden on the road unless:

  • there is an obstruction on the footpath, and you are able to travel along the road for less than 50 metres to avoid the obstruction,
  • you are crossing a road using the shortest possible route,
  • the road is a “local street” with a speed limit of 50km/h or less, with no dividing line or median strip, and 
  • the road is a one-way street with a speed limit of 50km/h or less, with only one lane.

Most roads do not meet these criteria, so the safest thing is to use the footpath whenever possible. You also cannot ride electric scooters on the road at all in the Brisbane CBD.

Pay Attention

Even if you are doing everything right and riding on the footpath, accidents can still happen. We have had quite a few claims involving scooter riders who were riding along the footpath and were injured by cars exiting driveways. The drivers just didn’t see the scooter approaching. This can cause the scooter rider serious injuries, and so you should always be particularly cautious when approaching driveways when riding – don’t expect the driver to see you!

You should also bear in mind that it’s illegal to drink alcohol or use a mobile phone that you are holding while riding an electric scooter. Basically, if you wouldn’t do it while driving, don’t do it while riding. You need to pay attention to your surroundings, and to other vehicles and pedestrians, to ensure everyone’s safety.

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