E-scooter riders in the state of Queensland will be required to remain at the scene of an accident and could face fines of more than $6,000 for unsafe behavior under new laws that restrict the usage of the devices on footpaths and bike routes. These laws also require riders to wear a helmet when operating their vehicles.
On Thursday, the minister of transport and highways, Mark Bailey, presented the new legislation to parliament. He argued that it was only fair for users of electric scooters to have the same post-crash obligations as drivers and cyclists, regardless of whether they were on a road or a path.
According to him, under the new regulations, anyone who ride scooters risk having to appear in court and receiving fines of up to $6,192.
“They are equally culpable in the same way that every other road user is, and I think the majority of people would expect that that is fair enough,” said Bailey. “They are equally culpable in the same way that every other road user is.”
He stated that there is still a problem with speeding, despite the fact that there are national guidelines that limit e-scooter speeds to 25 kilometers per hour.
“When I get my running shoes out on the Bicentennial bike way and I get passed by an e-scooter doing about 50 or 60km/h – if it hit me I’d be dead,” he added. “If it hit me, I’d be dead.”
If the proposed legislation were to become law, it would be against the law for the rider of a scooter or bike to operate their vehicle in a careless manner while on a sidewalk, bike path, or shared route.
A rider, in the same way that a driver would be forced to remain at the site of an accident, would be required to do so.
Riders of e-scooters have been subject to the regulations that are in place while they are on roads, but these laws do not apply when they are on footpaths.
The legislation is an addition to the restrictions that were established the year before with the goal of lowering the maximum speed limit on footpaths to 12 kilometers per hour.
Abraham Leung, a researcher at Griffith University, has conducted study on the regulations governing the usage of electric scooters throughout the Asia Pacific region. He stated that the new restrictions in Queensland will not be as stringent as those in other jurisdictions such as Singapore, where e-scooters are required to be registered like a car, or Hong Kong, which outright prohibits them from the city-state.
“I think we are really in the middle of the pack – not the least stringent, but not the most,” he said. “I think we are in the middle of the pack really.”
According to Leung, it does not make sense to mandate that scooters carry third-party insurance, since this would likely result in a decrease in the number of people who use scooters, similar to what happened in Singapore.
According to information obtained from the transport department of the state of Queensland in 2023, only one person was killed while riding an electric scooter, in contrast to the 246 individuals who were killed while driving cars, trucks, or motorcycles.
Chris Cox, the spokesperson for Space For Cycling Brisbane, stated that the organization was in favor of the new regulation; however, he emphasized that a legislative crackdown on its own would not be sufficient to improve cycling safety.
According to what he had to say, “we should be trying our best to encourage people to use these lighter and safer means of personal transport.”
In the previous year, the state government made a commitment to “accelerate the rollout of physically separated E-scooter path infrastructure” by advocating for other levels of government to do the same.
However, according to Cox, the rate of network expansion has been “as glacial as ever” in recent times.