Queenslanders will be able to use personal “rideables” such as e-scooters on local streets, in public spaces and on footpaths thanks to new rules that came into force last week.
People looking more and more towards affordable, low or zero emissions transport options, a trend that is reflected in the rise of shared vehicle schemes such as Brisbane’s own CityCycle.
Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey announced the new rules on Friday, saying that the new laws recognise the Queensland community’s changing needs.
“We are seeing different kinds of rideables on footpaths and public spaces and there are companies offering personal transport services looking to invest here, so we need to make sure our laws support these changes,” he said in a statement.
“These new travel options can help ease traffic congestion, reduce the need for parking spaces and are also eco-friendly.”
The new rules will ensure that people of all abilities, and those just wanting to choose modes of transport that have less impact on the environment, can safely and freely use public pathways.
Dubbed “personal mobility devices”, approved vehicles must be electric, and may only have a max speed of 25km/hr.
Approved vehicles no bigger than 1.25m x 0.7m in length and width (which rules out standard size e-bikes), max weight of 60kg, and feature a braking system.
Riders of the vehicles must be over 16 years of age (12-15 year olds must be accompanied by an adult), and all riders must wear a helmet unless exempted due to medical or religious reasons.
While the new rules allow riding on main roads and streets for a short distance of 50m (say to avoid an obstruction), riders will be allowed to travel on local streets that are designated 50km/hr top speed and have no line markings or median strips.
Bailey said that the changes in the laws have been brought in before Christmas to provide Queenslanders with more travel options.
“We began our review of Queensland’s regulations for rideables earlier this year in anticipation of these changing transport options.
“We said the revised regulations would be in place before Christmas and today’s announcement gives certainty to people who want to ride these devices, as well as those companies that want to offer them as a service,” he said.
With the silly season almost upon us Bailey was also keen to emphasise the importance of keeping safety in mind during the Christmas period.
“It’s important to remember, especially during Christmas and New Year celebrations, that drinking and riding do not mix,” he said.
“We want everyone to get home safely and enjoy the holidays with their friends and families. If you’re drinking, make sure you have a lift legend and don’t drive or ride.
“Dangerous riding behaviour can and will be enforced by the Queensland Police Service.”
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.