If you’re planning to buy an electric scooter or skateboard for Christmas, be aware of the new rules

Candice EvansGeraldton Guardian
New rules covering how electric scooters can be used have been introduced.
Camera IconNew rules covering how electric scooters can be used have been introduced. Credit: Tricia Watkinson/METHODE

Electric scooters and skateboards will likely appear on many Christmas wishlists this year, given the growing popularity of these eRideable devices and others like them in recent years.

To avoid disappointment when shopping for eRideables, it is important to be across the new rules that are now in effect covering how they can be used.

One of the key changes implemented by the Road Safety Commission has been on where these devices can be ridden and how fast they can go. For eRiders over 16 years of age, the devices can be ridden up to 10km/h on footpaths and up to 25km/h on bicycle paths, shared paths and local roads. Children under 16 years old can still use low-powered, low-speed motorised scooters with a maximum power output of 200W and maximum speed of 10 km/h.

Helmets are compulsory; so too is giving way to pedestrians, keeping left, using a bell or verbal warning when approaching path users, and the use of lights and reflectors when riding at night-time. Protective gear such as knee and elbow pads is also strongly recommended.

Another safety aspect to be aware of is that most eRideables are powered by lithium-ion batteries, which can catch fire if they are overcharged, damaged or not approved for use in Australia. Overnight or unsupervised charging can therefore be dangerous, so the devices should be unplugged as soon as a full charge is reached. Only use the battery and charger provided with the equipment and be cautious about buying any electrical items from overseas.

As we urge consumers to familiarise themselves with the new regulations, we are also warning retailers to ensure they are not selling eRideable devices that exceed size, weight and speed capabilities, nor should they mislead consumers about what is or isn’t allowed when it comes to using them on public paths or roads.

More details about the new eRideable regulations can be found on the Road Safety Commission website, while consumers who feel they have been misled should try to resolve the issue with the retailer first. If that fails, consumers can contact Consumer Protection by email consumer@dmirs.wa.gov.au or by calling 1300 30 40 54.

Candice Evans is senior regional officer for Consumer Protection in the Mid West and Murchison.

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