Segway Scooters

Electric scooters are becoming more popular throughout Australia and New Zealand and have become one of the primary modes of transportation for inner-city commuters. Renowned for their speed, efficiency and environmentally-conscious design, electric scooter riders preferred using their e-scooter over their car for 45% of journeys.

Source: Adamson Ahdoot

But all of this popularity has led to new regulations and road rules being introduced across Australia and New Zealand, with some laws being specifically written for electric scooters. While a great deal of fuss has been made over the benefits of electric scooters, some have questioned whether or not e-scooters are dangerous. 

Let’s examine whether e-scooters are safe to share bike paths and other shared paths with pedestrians, what risks might come from riding an e-scooter and how e-scooter riders can be safer on the roads.

The risks of riding an electric scooter 

There are several associated risks of e-scooter accidents if you don’t ride your e-scooter safely, correctly, and fully adhere to road rules. 

If you don’t ride your e-scooter correctly, the following risks are possible: 

  • By riding your scooter too fast or by removing the speed limiter to facilitate your scooter reaching a higher maximum speed, you could cause an e-scooter crash, which may injure you or other road users, pedestrians or bicyclists.
  • Even if you and others are unhurt, you may cause damage to your electric scooter or other road vehicles.
  • Riding an electric scooter in hazardous conditions, such as on excessively wet roads, could cause a crash as your traction (and, therefore, your ability to stop) is significantly reduced.
  • Riding an electric scooter under the influence of alcohol or drugs could cause a scooter accident that may result in serious injury, as you can quickly lose control of your scooter. NEVER ride your scooter whilst under the influence. 

Injury statistics and trends 

Despite electric scooters only being mainstream in Australia since 2019, when legislation was first adopted by the Federal Government surrounding their use, there have been several studies detailing the injury rates of electric scooter riders from several Australian institutions and universities. 

According to recent reports, a study at the University of Queensland Injury Surveillance Unit showed that 88 children were treated for head, neck and limb e-scooter related injuries as a result of an e-scooter crash. 

In Western Australia, a study from 2017 to 2022 of all trauma patients placed in the Trauma Registry showed that 81 patients were treated for e-scooter related injuries in those five years. 66% of hospital admissions from that group of 81 were recorded in 2021-2022 alone, a jump of 385% on the previous year. 

Luckily, 43% of those patients wore a helmet which resulted in a significantly lower number of head injuries. However, despite the laws prohibiting operating an e-scooter under the influence of alcohol, 35% of those patients were intoxicated. 

A Guardian article from October of last year noted that three people had died from electric scooter-related injuries in September of 2022 alone. This prompted calls from physicians to re-think policing surrounding electric scooters and urged the public to comply with helmet requirements. 

Unfortunately, information from a Trivedi et. al. study indicated that 90% of participants reported e-scooters riding on the sidewalk, with 40% of electric scooters being ridden within a metre of pedestrians. Such observances show an apparent wanton disregard by some electric scooter riders for the rules and regulations surrounding safe e-scooter use. 

Further data indicated that shared e-scooters (these are hirable e-scooters, rather than privately-owned e-scooters) offered a higher percentage of illegal riding activities (49% v.s 12.2%). Non-helmet use was also higher among users of shared e-scooters, as opposed to privately owned electric scooters (38.6% and 18.8%).

Comparative risks with other methods of transportation 

When compared to other modes of transportation, electric scooters may seem to be relatively safe, but that all depends on what you’re comparing them with. If compared to walking, then yes, electric scooters are rather unsafe by comparison. The only fair comparison vehicles we could use to compare with electric scooters are pedal bicycles and electric bicycles. 

Source: Choice

In February of this year, there were, unfortunately, three bicycle-related deaths in 7 days in Victoria. Comparatively, in 2021-22, data from Monash University’s Injury Surveillance Unit showed that more than 400 people were admitted to hospital, and at least two people died in electric scooter-related accidents. 

Electric scooters leave riders more open to non-life-threatening injuries when falls or crashes occur. However, the higher rate of speed and potentially short stopping distances when braking can increase the risk of serious injury or death from an electric scooter accident. However, additional contributions to the risks of serious injury or death are personal factors such as the wearing of a helmet, rate of speed and mechanism of injury. 

Factors contributing to danger

When it comes to the dangers of riding an electric scooter, there are a variety of factors that contribute to the potential dangers. These include the design, speed and power of the electric scooter and the capabilities, experience and personal responsibility of the rider.

Speed and power capabilities 

When it comes to a crash, the rate of speed and power produced by your electric scooter’s battery are what are most likely to determine the seriousness of your injuries. 

Suppose you are travelling the speed limit or are exercising good judgment when travelling on a shared path at speed. In that case, you are less likely to have an electric scooter accident that results in serious injuries. 

However, suppose you have disabled your electric scooter’s speed limiter or are generally riding your electric scooter recklessly. In that case, you are increasing your risk of serious injury or death if and when you crash. 

Similarly, suppose you are riding an electric scooter with a greater power capability than you can handle as a novice rider, for instance. In that case, you are increasing the risk of injury from losing control when riding. 

In almost every Australian state, it is illegal to ride an electric scooter above a speed of 25kph and speed limits for e-scooters generally sit around 15kph on shared paths, bicycle lanes and local roads. Children under the age of 16, in many states, are also not allowed to ride scooters with a power wattage of over 200W.

Road and infrastructure conditions 

When riding an electric scooter, always ride in a manner suitable to the road conditions. For example, slow down in light rain to increase your stopping power as your tyres lose traction. Or, if you’re faced with a downpour, do not ride at all. 

All electric scooters will have an IP rating that denotes how waterproof their external materials are. Riding within the parameters of this IP rating means not submerging your electric scooter in water puddles and generally not riding in torrential rain. Additionally, rain can make brake handles and scooter handles more slippery, making it easier to lose control of your scooter while riding. 

You should also avoid active construction zones when riding to ensure you don’t run over a screw or nail in the road or excessive debris that can compromise the contact of your electric scooter’s tyres with the road surface.

User behaviour and skill level 

Ultimately, the main factor contributing to reducing the risk of crashes or injury when riding your electric scooter will be your behaviour. Riding per the road rules and being observant of the behaviour of others, wearing a helmet always, keeping within speed limits and riding to your skill level and familiarity with your machine will significantly reduce your risk of scooter-related injuries.

How to reduce the risk of injury while riding

There are several ways to reduce your chances of injury while riding your electric scooter. By using the following suggestions while riding, you’ll increase your safety while on the road and the safety of others around you.

Riding etiquette and best practices 

Source: Scootsafe

While riding your electric scooter, you can implement a few ‘best practices’ to decrease the risk of injury to yourself and others. Here’s how to exhibit good riding etiquette and keep the roads safe. 

  • Always leave more than 1 metre of space between you and pedestrians on a shared path.
  • Never ride on the roadway for more than 50m or until you have passed an obstruction on a shared path or bike lane, where you are legally allowed to ride.
  • Always provide at least a metre of space on all sides when riding with other electric scooter users and bicyclists.
  • Never carry a passenger while riding an electric scooter and avoid distracting other road users with conversation while riding two abreast in certain circumstances.
  • Always yield to oncoming pedestrians on shared pathways.
  • Maintain a controlled speed at all times.
  • Learn and use proper hand signals when riding and obey all road rules.

Recommended age and skill level

Introducing your children to electric scooters is largely a personal judgment and choice. 

However, some Australian states require that children under 16 be supervised when riding electric scooters, which cannot exceed 200W of power. In some states, the age limit rises to 18.

While the law mandates either 16 or 18 depending on where you live, introducing your kids to low-powered electric scooters might be a good idea when they reach the age of 14 or when they have mastered and been riding a traditional kick scooter or bicycle for several years.

Helmet and safety gear requirements

In Australia, not wearing a helmet when riding an electric scooter is illegal. You will be stopped and likely fined for not wearing your helmet when riding. While you are not mandated to wear elbow or knee pads while riding an electric scooter in Australia, long-sleeved shirts and trousers are a much better option than t-shirts and shorts.

While being built, all e-scooters in Australia and New Zealand must have a speed limiter built-in, brakes, and front and rear lights for riding at night.

Government regulations and safety standards

In Australia, different states have different regulations concerning how e-scooters are to be ridden, with most sharing a similar framework for basic safety regulations.

National regulations

Regarding national regulations, Australia doesn’t have a concrete statute on the books that regulates e-scooters specifically. However, it appears to utilise the same framework for safety measures governing bicycles. 

Some general laws that apply to e-scooter riders: 

  • Always wear a helmet.
  • Abide by all other road rules.
  • Abide by a 25kph top speed on bike paths and a 15kph top speed on shared paths.
  • Do not ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Officially, your blood alcohol content cannot be above 0.05, and no drugs can be in your system. However, it is always better to ride your e-scooter while completely sober.
  • Do not carry passengers or use your mobile device while riding your electric scooter. 


Legislation in Queensland differs slightly from the national regulations, as the Queensland Government has implemented speed restrictions and other measures covering e-scooter users and the design of their electric scooters. 

  • E-scooter users must be over the age of 16 to ride an electric scooter with more power than 200W. But, an electric scooter can be ridden by a person over 12, with adult supervision.
  • E-scooter users riding on shared paths must observe a 12kph speed limit, while everywhere else, the speed limit is increased to 25kph.

 For electric scooter designers, the following restrictions apply:

  • The electric scooter frame cannot exceed 1,250mm in length, 700mm in width, or be higher than 1,350mm.
  • The electric scooter cannot weigh more than 60kg unladen.
  • The maximum speed of an e-scooter ridden in Queensland cannot exceed 25kph.

South Australia

Like New South Wales, South Australia has maintained a somewhat iron grip on e-scooter ownership and riding rules. Confusingly, South Australia’s state legislation stipulates that Australians must register their privately owned e-scooter with the state as they are considered motorised vehicles. 

However, Australian federal regulations stipulate that e-scooters don’t meet specific safety requirements to be registered and therefore ridden on South Australia’s roads. 

Other specific legislation for riders in South Australia to be aware of includes: 

  • E-scooter riders must be 18 or older.
  • Your electric scooter cannot exceed a speed of 15kph.
  • Electric scooters can only ride on a road if passing an obstruction on a shared path or bicycle path, or for fifty metres to pass congestion on said path.
  • Riders on the road must keep as far to the left as possible.


Unlike New South Wales, Tasmania has taken a much more relaxed and encouraging approach to e-scooter use and ownership. The following rules apply to Tasmanian e-scooter riders. 

  • Riders must be over the age of 16. Although those under the age of 16 can still ride, they must ride a low-powered scooter that does not exceed 200W power and cannot ride faster than 10kph.
  • Must not exceed 15kph on footpaths.
  • Must not exceed 25kph on shared paths, bicycle paths and roadways.

New South Wales

Legislation surrounding electric scooter use in New South Wales is unlike anywhere else in Australia as it is one of the only places in the country that heavily regulates the use of electric scooters, effectively banning them in public places. However, private ownership and riding of private electric scooters is still legal on private property.

New South Wales is currently trialling with Neuron Mobility for an e-scooter rental scheme in different e-scooter trials. In the areas of Sydney where the trials are taking place, the following restrictions apply. 

  • E-scooter riders must be over the age of 16.
  • E-scooters can only be ridden in bike lanes, shared paths and roads with an upper speed limit of 50kph. They must not be ridden on footpaths.
  • E-scooters ridden through the e-scooter rental scheme can only be ridden in the Australian Botanic Gardens and Western Sydney Parklands.
  • E-scooter riders must not exceed 25kph on roads, bike lanes or bike paths.


Similarly to New South Wales, Victoria also has strict electric scooter regulations. Privately owned e-scooters cannot be ridden in public places in Victoria. Instead, e-scooter users must participate in one of the Victoria Government’s e-scooter rental schemes, which are taking place across Melbourne. Other restrictions include: 

  • Whether shared or privately owned, e-scooters in Victoria cannot exceed 10kph and cannot have more power than 200W.
  • Privately owned e-scooters must be registered with the state.
  • Victorians participating in an e-scooter rental scheme must be 18 or older.

Western Australia 

In Western Australia, e-scooters are classified broadly as ‘e-Rideables’ if they are 125cm long, 70cm wide, 135cm high, weigh less than 60kg and cannot go faster than 25kph on flat ground. 

  • All e-scooter riders must be over the age of 16.
  • E-scooter riders must obey a 10kph speed limit on footpaths and a 25kph speed limit on local roads, shared paths and bike paths.

Australian Capital Territory 

Specific legislation within the ACT covers Canberra and Belconnen, Gungahlin, Woden, Tuggeranong, Weston Creek and Molongo. Aside from the basics, specific e-scooter legislation controls electric scooter speed on the roadways. These are as follows: 

  • The speed limit on a shared path or bike path is 25kph.
  • The speed limit on footpaths is reduced to 15kph.
  • The speed limit when using a crossing is reduced further to 10kph.

How regulations impact scooter safety

Speed limits on e-scooters and physical restrictions on their riders ensure, as best the law can, that the roads are safe for everyone to use. 

Keep in mind that electric scooters are a relatively new technology in comparison to bicycles and automobiles that otherwise have occupied Australian streets and roads for a century. As Australians adapt to and become more responsible with electric scooters, regulations concerning their use will likely become more relaxed.

Summing up 

Electric scooters aren’t more or less safe than other modes of transportation, provided you adhere carefully to all road rules and respect other road users. Following the above tips on safely riding your scooter will help you make using your e-scooter the most enjoyable experience. 

Frequently asked questions 

There are a few questions that we’re frequently asked when it comes to the safe operation of electric scooters. We’ve selected our most frequent below and provided answers to them.

What can I do to make electric scooter rides safer? 

While all road users have a shared responsibility to make the roads safer for each other and themselves, there are a few things you can do to guarantee a safer ride on your e-scooter. 

  • Always wear your helmet. It doesn’t matter if you’re going for a ride for two minutes or two hours. Accidents can happen at any time.
  • Observe all road rules and ride to the posted speed limit for your e-scooter. This may be comparatively slow compared to bicycles and cars. Still, the speed limits imposed on e-scooters, particularly on shared paths and bike lanes, are there for your safety.
    Avoid riding your electric scooter in wet road conditions, as you reduce your traction when riding on wet surfaces.
  • Ensure your tyres are full of air before you ride and your battery is fully charged so you’re not risking a breakdown in the middle of a busy trail or roadway.
Are electric scooters safer than bicycles or walking?

Electric scooters aren’t safer than walking, but they could be safer than riding a bicycle, depending on road conditions, speed and traffic volume. Electric scooters don’t necessarily have the maneuverability of a bicycle but can move faster with traffic flow. 
In general, the safety of an electric scooter compared to a bicycle or walking depends on the riders’ experience and knowledge.

What are the most dangerous conditions for electric scooter riders?

In general, it is not advisable to ride your electric scooter in wet conditions or heavy traffic. Additionally, riding your electric scooter unsafely by violating speed limit restrictions (or removing the speed limiter on your electric scooter) makes it more unsafe to ride.
You should also stick to the designated spaces when riding your electric scooter, i.e: bike lanes or shared paths. Pedestrian footpaths should also be avoided when possible, as you move much faster than the average pedestrian.

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