Know your e-scooter laws before you gift one this Christmas

14 December, 2023

As e-scooter sales zoom ahead this Christmas, RAA is urging South Australians to be aware of where they can be ridden before buying one as a gift.

Under current South Australian legislation, motorised devices such as e-scooters, electric skateboards and segways are considered motor vehicles that require a driver’s licence, registration and insurance – but they don’t meet safety standards under the Australian Design Rules and are not eligible for registration.

It means personal e-scooters are illegal to ride on public land in SA – and doing so could attract a fine of more than $1200.

RAA Future Mobility Expert Mark Borlace said an estimated 250,000 Australians owned a personal mobility device such as an electric scooter.

“E-scooters are becoming extremely popular as Christmas presents for children and teenagers, but most retailers don’t tell you where they’re actually allowed to be used,” Mr Borlace said.

“Current laws in SA mean that private e-scooters can only be legally ridden on private land, and using them on public land could attract a hefty fine.

“While some councils have been running e-scooter trials such as the Beam and Neuron scooters in the city, the State Government is yet to legislate for private e-scooters.

“We’re hopeful there will be new legislation in early 2024 because e-scooters are a great last-mile solution for active travel or commuting.

“But until then, anyone thinking of buying one for a friend or family member should make sure they – and the person they’re gifting it to – know that riding them on public land is currently illegal.”

The potential penalties for riding a personal e-scooter in public are:

  • Driving an unregistered motor vehicle ($475 plus $99 VOC)
  • Driving an uninsured motor vehicle ($845 plus $99 VOC)
  • Driving unlicenced ($1250)

Mr Borlace also said e-scooters should be charged according to the manufacturer’s instructions to reduce the risk of complications or battery fire.

“We’d recommend always using the original charger, and charging your e-scooter in a cool, dry environment away from direct sunlight,” Mr Borlace said.

“Many users choose to charge them out of the house for peace of mind in case anything does go wrong with the battery. “It’s also a good idea to let the scooter cool down for 15 minutes or so after riding, as charging when its warm can impact battery life and longevity.”