Whizzing through Aussie streets, electric scooter riders are expected to be responsible citizens on the road, diligently following traffic rules while being wary of their surroundings. The main reason — to keep themselves and others safe on the road.
In case you are unaware or clueless, there is spoken and unspoken electric scooter etiquette on the road and you need to learn it well. Whether you’re a new or experienced e-scooter rider, here are ‘must follow’ electric scooter safety and etiquette tips to help keep you away from trouble or accidents while riding.
- Stick to riding on appropriate paths
Sure, lightweight and portable electric scooters can traverse anywhere due to their compact size. But in Australia, these same electric scooters are prohibited from riding certain pathways. In some states and territories, particularly in New South Wales, South Australia, and Western Australia, e-scooters are not allowed on footpaths or pavements. However, the rest of the cities in Australia allow compact electric scooters.
- There are bicycle lanes as well as designated paths and areas dedicated to electric scooters, in case footpaths are prohibited. Riders caught riding in prohibited areas will be fined. So, it would be good to know your city’s electric scooter laws to determine which areas and routes you can ride.
- Ride at the right speed limit and maintain a safe distance from others. Observe electric scooter laws per state. The speed limit allowed for e-scooters is 10 kph, while some states like Queensland allow up to 25 kph. Do not go beyond your city’s speed limit for your safety and others, too.
- Always keep a safe distance from other micro-mobility devices, cars, and especially pedestrians. A two-car distance is just right. This enables you to react accordingly in case of an emergency. Don’t speed through traffic to avoid any mishap. Maintain the right speed and distance.
- In situations where it is safer to alight from your e-scooter and push it temporarily, do so until it is safer to ride again. Traffic junctions and congested areas can be difficult and unwieldy. If you persist in riding your electric scooter under heavy traffic, you won’t be able to maneuver properly and could crash into other vehicles and pedestrians.
- Not all malls and other establishments allow even foldable electric scooters to be taken inside. If you must bring your e-scooter inside establishments, ask permission first, and if you’re allowed, get off your e-scooter, fold it, and bring it inside. Otherwise, you must park it outside. Secure it with a tough, reliable security lock to keep your e-scooter safe from theft.
- Be considerate of others on the path. Give way to pedestrians. This is mandatory. Electric scooter laws in Australia constantly remind e-scooter riders to give way to pedestrians. When riding on a path, always keep left and be alert. Be wary of pedestrians and other micro-mobility riders as well. Ride in a single file when you are approaching other riders.
- Put bells and tail lights to good use. Use the e-scooter’s bell to warn oncoming pedestrians and fellow riders. If you are riding at night, use your taillights to alert pedestrians and other vehicles behind you that you will be at a full stop or turn. Lights are very useful as they give you visibility, so be sure your e-scooter is fitted with lights.
- Pullover, and take cover when it rains. Don’t ride in harsh weather – it is unsafe. If you run into rain while riding on your e-scooter, go to a dry, covered area. Attempting to ride in the rain can get you into an accident since there is less visibility on the road. Rain can also damage your e-scooter, causing it to break down. Avoid riding in puddles as it might damage the electrical parts of your electric scooter. Always keep it dry and away from water. Even if e-scooters have an IP Rating, they can’t withstand being drenched in water.
- Follow traffic rules and regulations. Get to know the electric scooter laws in Australia and traffic regulations in your city, including road signs and traffic lights. Learn to anticipate situations on the road and practice caution, especially when you’re riding in new places. Word of advice to the beginner, practice riding an e-scooter on the private property first before venturing out into the road.
- Park your electric scooter safely and properly. This is a must-know electric scooter etiquette for many riders of both private and shared electric scooters. There were accounts of pedestrian accidents, often caused by improperly parked electric scooters. This, in addition to police reports on thefts by resourceful robbers.
- Habitually clean or sanitize your electric scooter before and after using it. Get to know your city’s e-scooter laws to determine which areas and routes you can ride and to learn more about what you can and can’t do in public. For more electric scooter guides, check out the Mearth blogs.