Are Onewheels, Electric Skateboards and Unicycles Legal In Australia?
Australian laws have not kept up to date with the latest technology. When mobility scooters first became popular they were illegal to use for many years until legislation bylaws allowed for them.
This is the same for Onewheels, Electric Skateboards and Electric Unicycles. Anything over 250w is only to be ridden on private property and fines can be issued for riding them on the road and footpaths except in in approved states below.
Our best estimate taking into the above considerations of lawful riding is currently June - December 2021 depending on how fast the states adopt the new national NTC proposal in the December 2020 update further below.
By not approved we mean anything over 250w is only to be ridden on private property and fines can be issued for riding them on the road and footpaths.
NSW - https://roadsafety.transport.nsw.gov.au/stayingsafe/pedestrians/skateboardsfootscootersandrollerblades/index.html
VIC - https://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/safety-and-road-rules/road-rules/a-to-z-of-road-rules/hoverboards-segways-and-other-motorised-devices
SA - https://dpti.sa.gov.au/news?a=248791
WA - https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/sites/default/files/atoms/files/minimotorcycles.pdf
TAS - https://www.transport.tas.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0015/141117/Power-assisted_pedal_cycles_-_Information_Sheet_-_Dec_2016.pdf
NT - https://nt.gov.au/driving/rego/registration-other-vehicles/scooters
Is there any hope for the states not approved? YES!
NTC (National Transport Commission) is currently proposing to parliament in updating the regulations so all states are approved for small electric vehicle transport. Please visit the current timeline here.
A national personal mobility devices policy proposal was presented to senior officials in early October 2020. The proposal then progressed to Infrastructure and Transport Ministers for consideration at their meeting on Friday, 20 November 2020.
The proposal included a device framework specifying the requirements for devices, such as motor type, braking, dimensions and weight to enable appropriate devices to access public infrastructure. It also included conditions of use relating to the type of infrastructure that devices may access and an approach to speed.
An assessment of safety risks, access and amenity impacts, broader economic impacts, as well as compliance and enforcement challenges was conducted to inform the proposal.
As part of the 14th Infrastructure and Transport Meeting, Ministers considered the NTC’s proposal (informed by data, research and insights received from many diverse parties, and that of all jurisdictions across Australia).
The Council Secretariat has confirmed that Ministers approved the policy proposal as presented. This means that the personal mobility device policy can progress to the legislative drafting phase, in preparation for inclusion into the Australian Road Rules.
Please note: the Australian Road Rules are model laws that have no legal effect. They form the basis of road rules of each Australian state and territory. For the roads rules to have legal effect, they will need to be adopted by each individual state and territory government.
The NTC team are currently finalising recommendations for Ministers on the PMD policy framework for inclusion in the Australian Road Rules.
The process the NTC undertakes is to establish model law. I tis then up to each jurisdiction to enact the legislation in their own parliament. Timing is normally dependent on their parliamentary agenda.
We anticipate that this matter will be included on the November 2020 Transport and Infrastructure Council agenda, if it successfully passes consideration by the Transport and Infrastructure Senior Officials Committee.
If it is successfully passes then each national model legislation needs to be drafted and then draft legislation in each state jurisdiction (who doesn’t already have legislation in place) needs to get onto parliament agendas across the country which is not always easy as you have to navigate elections/caretaker periods, Ministerial priorities etc.
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