The electric skateboard craze is everywhere and more people seem to be taken by it each day. Everywhere you look, there seems to be someone having fun on one of these devices and you probably want to join in on the fun. However, there is one major piece of information that can stand in your way, “are electric skateboards legal in my city?” Those in Australia have come to the right place to answer this question.
Yes, electric skateboards are legal in Australia. The nationwide laws don’t explicitly ban or make electric skateboards illegal. They instead provide guidelines such as speed limits upon which the various states make their laws. The state laws are what determines if the use of electric skateboards is legal or not. So, you need to look up the laws of the state relating to electric skateboards before you set out with your electric skateboard in public.
Electric skateboard laws of select states
The laws in west Australia are a bit tricky when it comes to electric skateboards. The law accounts for electric scooters, bicycles, and wheelchairs but doesn’t account for electric skateboards. This creates a bit of a grey area where law enforcement agents may not fully understand. Some policemen may assume that since electric skateboards are not specifically illegal, then they don’t have to stop or bother you when you operate them on the road or in public. On the other hand, some policemen may choose to penalize you as the law doesn’t make it legal. The law simply accounts for electric personal transporters (EPTs) mentioning bicycles as an example. You can read the laws for yourself using this link or consult a legal adviser to help you make sense of it. In case you are going to operate your electric scooter in public, the rules for EPTs in West Australia include:
Use the appropriate lanes
There are bicycle lanes all across west Australia and they have been extended to allow for the use of EPTs. Footpaths and certain roads also allow the use of EPTs, you simply need to ensure that there isn’t a sign indicating that their use is prohibited before you embark. When you are on a lane that allows their use, stick to the left-hand side of the road.
Always wear protective gear
Only a helmet is mandatory but you are advised to extend this to other safety equipment to reduce the risk of injury. Wrist, knee, and shoulder guards are the most commonly used accessories and they are highly recommended for your safety.
Minimum rider age
West Australia has a flexible handle on the age limit for a rider, setting it as low as 12 years. It is however advised that parental supervision be observed to protect riders who aren’t up to 16years.
In South Australia, the use of electric skateboards in public remains illegal. The law in South Australia considers an electric skateboard as a vehicle and requires the rider to have insurance before operating in public. Ordinarily, you would simply get a license and insure the electric skateboard, and you’d be fine, however, electric skateboards do not meet the minimum safety requirement guidelines set by the state to qualify for insurance. As a result, electric skateboards are uninsurable, and thus, you cannot use them in public. You can read more on the laws of South Australia on electric skateboards here.
Queensland is a very progressive state and has accepted the use of electric skateboards. It was the first Australian state to recognize the growing use and make it legal. Electric skateboards are legal to ride on any road or path all around Queensland but some rules govern its use. Rules of the road for electric skateboard use in Queensland include:
- All riders must be at least 16 years old, but when parental supervision is present, anyone older than 12 years old can ride in public.
- At all times, all riders must wear a helmet when operating on the road.
- All riders must maintain speeds below 25km/hr (15.5mph) on paths, and a limit of 50km/hr on roads.
- No passengers are allowed on an electric skateboard.
- Your electric skateboard must have flashing or steady lights when riding at night.
You can familiarize yourself further with the law here.
Do we need a license?
This is dependent on the laws of the state or city you are in. In South Australia, you require a license to operate any vehicles in public and with this not being a possibility, their use is forbidden. In such a city, it is best to stay out of the public with your electric skateboard until the law changes. In other places like Queensland and West Australia, a license isn’t needed and they even allow riders who are younger than 16 to get a license. To be on the safe side, you can reach out to law enforcement or a legal team and verify if you need a license. If you can get one, you can proceed to do so, ensuring that you aren’t put in a position where it is needed but you don’t have it. You can also check the laws of your city and see if it is explicitly stated whether or not you need a license to operate an electric skateboard.
Do we need insurance?
Same as with a license insurance laws are determined by the local government of the state. South Australia requires all vehicles to have insurance but while electric skateboards are technically classified as vehicles, they are not considered safe enough to be insured. Thus, you cannot insure your electric skateboard and cannot operate it in public. Queensland and West Australia on the other hand don’t require you to have insurance to operate your electric skateboard. Since you can operate in public, you are advised to get insurance to help protect you in the event of a collision and or injuries. As electric skateboards are legal in these parts of Australia, you can insure them.
Can you ride an electric skateboard on the sidewalk?
This is dependent on the city you are in, but it is worth noting that this is mostly frowned upon. Queensland is one of the few places where you can try this, but you have to look out for any signs prohibiting the use of electric skateboards. If you find a sidewalk that allows electric skateboard usage, you need to obey all the set rules and stick to the left side of the road. Any accidents on a sidewalk will likely be said to be your fault, so you need to be careful on the sidewalk. If you can find another lane such as a bicycle lane, you may be better served using it over the sidewalk. In other cities, check the local laws, contact the police or a legal team to verify if you can ride an electric skateboard on the sidewalk.
It is clear that the problem isn’t riding the electric skateboard, but where to ride it and what rules to follow. For those who reside in Australia and are either moving to or visiting another city, it is important to see what the law of the new city says before you make the move. While most people may get away with it, you should stick to the laws to avoid any legal issues or clashes with the local police. When in doubt, you can check up and show law enforcement officers the law when you are in the right, as it is possible to be wrongly stopped.