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Are Electric Scooters Allowed on Footpaths?

Electric scooters are a great mobility device – compact, fuel-efficient, and fun. But depending on where you live, you’ll quickly discover certain places where you can and cannot ride them. 

Source: Swagtron

Australian states have different riding rules concerning where you can and cannot ride. These rules apply to everyone, whether you own an electric scooter or are using e-scooters provided by the local or state governments as part of an electric scooter trial, as many are underway in different Australian cities. 

But what about riding your electric scooter on footpaths? As Australian e-scooter rules for riders can differ from state to state, we’ll break down the different rules and regulations and provide some helpful tips for riding your e-scooter on a footpath. 

Regulations and guidelines 

When it comes to the rules and regulations governing Australian electric scooter riders, they largely differ by state. The Federal government has laid some basic foundations for riding e-scooters safely that largely mirror the laws applied to bicyclists. 

These road rules include: 

  • Always wear an approved bicycle helmet when riding an electric scooter.
  • Never ride an electric scooter while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Obey all traffic laws all of the time. Road rules apply to electric scooters on the road and shared paths, bike paths or footpaths. Keeping left is optimal, along with safe parking in designated parking areas where possible.
  • Do not travel above the maximum speed limits posted in your area. In general, these should not exceed 25kph.
  • It is illegal to carry passengers on your electric scooter. 

The current legal status of electric scooters in Australia 

There is some confusion surrounding the current legal status of electric scooters in Australia, particularly regarding certain states’ requirements for electric scooters to be registered with the state government to be ridden on the roads. 

In South Australia, electric scooters are required to be registered with the state. However, modern electric scooters don’t meet the Australian Government’s “Design Rules” (a set of rules by which motorised vehicles must be designed to be considered road-legal) and are ineligible for registration. 

Different states have different road rules governing things like the maximum speed (in kilometres per hour) an electric scooter can travel and where it can be ridden. 

New South Wales is the most restrictive state in Australia, as it has effectively banned all use of privately owned e-scooters on its public roads, except for trials taking place in the Australian Botanic Gardens, the City of Lake Macquarie Trial, and several other trials. Similarly, Victoria has banned e-scooters on public roadways and footpaths, except for those in approved areas of Melbourne.  

Defining electric scooters and their classification 

Under Australian law, an “electric scooter” is a scooter powered by one or more motors that receive their power from an onboard battery unit. Electric scooters don’t meet the ADR requirements for “motorised” vehicles and cannot be registered to ride on Australian roads.

Speed and power limitations

In certain states, the maximum speed limit that an e-scooter can achieve is generally 25kph, though it varies between as little as 10 kilometres per hour on certain shared paths. The Australian government also imposes an upper power limit of 200 watts of maximum output for any electric scooter ridden by someone under 16. 

Anyone over 12 can ride an e-scooter that exceeds 200 watts of power with adult supervision but must maintain a maximum speed of 10kph. This power limitation exists in some form across many states.

Helmet and safety gear requirements

Fortunately, both the federal government’s regulations and Australian states are in lock-step on helmet-wearing and other safety requirements. 

Source: Tier

Commonalities across state and federal legislations include: 

  • You must always wear an approved bicycle helmet while riding an electric scooter on private land or public property, such as shared paths, bicycle lanes, and roadways.
  • You must affix a warning bell or horn to your electric scooter to improve road safety for pedestrians and other path or road users.
  • You must keep to the left on shared paths and bike lanes and either reduce to 10kph on pedestrian crossings or dismount if crossing the road.
  • If riding at night, you must have a set of visible front and rear lights and reflectors, as well as wear bright, reflective clothing.
  • You must not operate your electric scooter while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Some states have a BAC tolerance level of 0.05, while others operate a zero-tolerance policy.

Are electric scooters allowed on footpaths?

Concerning whether or not your electric scooter is allowed on footpaths, you’ll need to check your state legislation – many Australian states do allow electric scooter use on their footpaths, with strict speed restrictions. However, some do not. Instead, electric scooter riders must use shared paths or separate bike lanes if travelling on the roadway.

Australian Capital Territory

Riding a privately owned e-scooter is prohibited outside of two trial areas in Canberra and Belconnen town centre. However, in these approved areas, electric scooters can be ridden on footpaths if they observe a maximum speed of 15 kilometres per hour and follow all other road rules.

New South Wales

Being one of the most restrictive states in the country regarding electric scooter use, New South Wales is presently only trialling such scooters in the Western Sydney Parklands and Australian Botanic Gardens.

New South Wales does not allow e-scooters to be ridden on any footpaths, and riders can only ride an electric scooter in a trial area if the scooter is part of a shared scheme e-scooter. 

Northern Territory

In the Northern Territory, like New South Wales, electric scooters must be provided by a shared scheme e-scooter company like Neuron Mobility. However, unlike NSW, the Northern Territory permits riding electric scooters on footpaths, shared paths and bike lanes, provided riders observe a speed limit of 15kph. 


Unlike the previous two states, Queensland is one of the more forward-thinking legislators when using electric scooters daily. Queenslanders can enjoy their electric scooter almost anywhere in the state, following basic road safety and other road rules. Footpaths are also accessible to e-scooter users, provided they keep to the left, yielding for pedestrians and not exceeding 12kph.

South Australia

In South Australia, the rules are very similar. Electric scooters can be freely used on footpaths and shared paths, provided they do not exceed 15kph.


In Tasmania, electric scooter riders must be over the age of 16 or, if under 16, must be over the age of 12 and ride an e-scooter that does not exceed 200W of power or go faster than 10kph.

While on footpaths, electric scooters must follow all other road rules and not exceed speeds of 15kph. 


Victoria’s electric scooter rules apply to all electric scooters, whether privately owned or used as part of an e-scooter sharing scheme. Electric scooters in the state cannot exceed 200W of power or a maximum speed of 10kph.

E-scooter trials are taking place in Melbourne, where electric scooters are currently illegal to ride on footpaths.

Western Australia

With similar laws to Queensland and Tasmania, Western Australia also permits the use of electric scooters on footpaths but implements a 10-kilometre-per-hour speed limit.

Shared pathways vs. pedestrian-only footpaths 

There is a sometimes confusing difference between a shared pathway and a pedestrian-only footpath. It should be signposted which is which, regardless of where you are in Australia. However, to ensure your personal safety and stay within the rules for riders, always ensure you are riding on a shared path as opposed to a pedestrian-only footpath. 

Source: Kittleson

In general, except in the states mentioned above, riding on a shared path is completely legal if you follow all other road rules and general common-sense laws, like not using your phone while riding and not riding under the influence of alcohol or drugs. 

Sometimes, riding on a pedestrian-only footpath is legal if you are left with no other choice. However, you should maintain a very low rate of speed, keep to the left and yield, or come to a stop to allow pedestrians to use the entire width of the footpath. If in doubt, find a different route.

Local variations and municipal bylaws 

Regarding riding on footpaths, although your state may permit it, your locality or municipality may not. Check local road rules and safety regulations before venturing onto a pedestrian-only footpath because it is permitted under state law. 

Call your local council office for information on which footpaths you can ride on.

Safety tips for riding on a footpath

Many e-scooter users take riding on local footpaths for granted. However, these safety tips will ensure a safe and pleasant e-scooter commute for everyone around you.

Sharing footpaths with pedestrians 

Whether the footpath you ride on is a shared path or not, you are guaranteed to encounter pedestrians on a footpath. Always ride within the speed limits imposed by law and always give deference to pedestrians when riding. Use your bell or other warning device, as well as saying (loudly) “Excuse me!” or “Coming through!” or some variation thereof to let people know you’re there.

Yielding right-of-way and considerate riding 

Be prepared to give way when riding on a footpath with pedestrians travelling toward you. Although you could technically have the right-of-way, you don’t when pedestrians are involved.

Be considerate with your actions when riding on a shared path or footpath. You don’t own the footpath, and your behaviour should reflect this.

Managing speed and obstacles 

When riding on a narrower shared path, you must manage your speed both for your safety and the safety of others. It also increases your stopping distance, should you need to stop suddenly for a dog off-leash, an unexpected tumble from a pedestrian, or some other obstruction. 

Travelling well below the maximum speed allowed will give you more flexibility to maneuver and will keep you and everyone else safer overall.

Where electric scooters are prohibited on footpaths 

Although there may be a footpath, you are not necessarily allowed to ride on it, regardless of what your local or state law permits. There are specific instances and locations where electric scooters cannot ride on footpaths.

Source: Scooter Geeks

Sensitive locations and exclusions 

It should go without saying that you may not be permitted to ride on footpaths either in or surrounding sensitive locations like prisons, National Defence institutions like military bases, or Protected Areas like certain National Parks and wildlife or oceanic research areas.

National parks and protected areas

Unfortunately, you will not be permitted to ride either a privately owned electric scooter in any of Australia’s national parks or any of Australia’s 14,000 protected areas. Generally, you can expect to be denied access to the park or fined for riding without permission.

Some parks may have electric scooter rental schemes, and these are the only types of electric scooters allowed to be ridden in Australia’s National Parks or Protected Areas.

Temporary restrictions for events

Occasionally, you may encounter temporary restrictions on footpath riding in your state or local area. These are usually no more than a few days for a special event like a festival, market or other event where the usual footpath access is rendered unusable.

In this case, you should not ride your electric scooter on the footpath, even if no one is around. You could be prosecuted or fined for breaking the law.

Penalties for violating footpath regulations

There are sometimes significant penalties for violating footpath use regulations in your locality or state. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident, you could face a fine or even seizure of your electric scooter by police. Although fining usually occurs following the initial use of a verbal or written warning.

Fines and legal consequences

Different states impose different fines for using your electric scooter where you are not permitted to do so. These fines can reach into the hundreds of dollars. And, if you must register your electric scooter and have a driver’s license to ride one, you can also incur penalty points on your driver’s license for the more serious electric scooter infractions.

Summing up

Riding your electric scooter is supposed to be a freeing experience with opportunities to explore further afield in a shorter amount of time than on foot or with a bicycle, thanks to the magic of battery power. 

This idea of e-scooter use can certainly be realised when riding on a shared path or footpath, provided you are mindful of the local and state laws for e-scooter use. It’s also essential that you are courteous to pedestrians on footpaths, cautious of potential hazards and, most importantly, ride your e-scooter safely.

Frequently asked questions

Are there age restrictions for using e-scooters on footpaths?

Different states have different restrictions for using electric scooters anywhere in the state, including on footpaths. In some states, age restrictions range from 18 or over, 16 or over, and those between the ages of 12 and 16 can ride an e-scooter with a power level not exceeding 200W and a maximum speed of 10kph, with adult supervision.

Can I use my electric scooter in my local park? 

You may be able to use your electric scooter in your local park if your local park has a shared path or a footpath on which electric scooters are permitted to ride. Check with your local council or park authority to see if you can ride your e-scooter in your local parkland.

What should I do if I’m unsure about local regulations? 

Suppose you are unsure about certain local regulations. In that case, it is always best to call or email your local council and double-check their regulations surrounding e-scooter use on local roads, including footpaths.

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