Long flagged e-scooter rule changes came into effect today in Queensland.
Scooter riders will now be mandated by law to take a slower, safer pace on footpaths, so if you’re planning on “scootering” to work today, you might want to leave a bit earlier.
Other changes revolve around safe use of the mobility devices and bringing e-scooter laws in line with cycling laws.
- 12kph speed limits on footpaths and shared paths, unless otherwise signed. The 25kph limit remains for all other bike paths and roads.
- Increasing fines of up to $1,078 for dangerous offences involving speed, illegal road use and holding a mobile phone while riding.
- Allowing personal mobility devices (PMD) to be ridden in bike lanes on roads with a speed limit of 50kph or less, and all on-road bike lanes that are physically separated.
- Mandating bells for personal mobility devices with handlebars, like e-scooters.
- Aligning personal mobility device riders with bike riders to ensure they are required to follow general road rules, such as stopping at red lights.
- Up to $575 for speeding
- Up to $143 for not wearing a helmet
- Up to $1,078 for using a phone
- $143 for double riding
- $173 for riding on a prohibited roads
Wait, were you not meant to ride on the road before?
Under the old rules, PMDs were classified as pedestrians and were not allowed to be ridden on roads.
Andrew Mahon from the department of transport said users will now be allowed to ride in bike lanes on roads with a speed limit of 50kph or less, as well as on-road bike lanes that are physically separated.
“So what we will see is a much, much clearer alignment between those types of devices [and bicycles], largely because of the increased popularity of PMDs,” he said.
Mr Mahon said riders will now be required to follow general road rules, including stopping at red lights, and must equip their devices with a bell.
What sparked the changes?
It comes as doctors reported seeing an increase in “catastrophic” and “life-changing” injuries from e-scooter accidents, with almost 1,000 emergency department presentations in central Brisbane from November, 2018 to May, 2021.
Since their introduction to Queensland in 2018, there have been 10 deaths due to PMD accidents.
Professor Kirsten Vallmuur, from the Jamieson Trauma Institute, said upper limb fractures and head trauma were the most common types of PMD-related injuries, accounting for 65 per cent of cases.
“The improper use of vehicles definitely results in the more serious injuries that we’re seeing. Speed is a significant contributor – we’ve had several fatalities from speeding,” she said.
Why such a big fine?
Acting Sergeant Duncan Hill said fines of up to $1,078 ‘highlight the need for safety”.
“If a bicycle can’t do it, if you can’t do it in the car, then you can’t do it on a personal mobility device,” he said.
Sergeant Duncan Hill said the new rules for PMDs are also a reminder to motorists to give users at least a one-metre protection zone, as they would for bicyclists.
Users between 12 and 16 years of age must still ride a device with adult supervision.
It is illegal for under-12s to ride a personal mobility device on Queensland roads.