Currently in Victoria there are many retailers selling escooters which do not meet the legal requirements for use on footpaths or roads.
VicRoads outlines the requirements for escooters here:
This includes a maximum power output of 200 watts and maximum speed of 10 km/h for use on footpaths. Anything with higher power output or maximum speed is not permitted to be used anywhere except private property.
This article in the Guardian talks about retailers
selling various models in Victoria without any warning that you can’t legally use them and in some cases staff (incorrectly) telling people they are legal for use.
The JB HiFi online store includes a disclaimer requiring the purchaser to research the road rules as they apply in their state or territory, “including where e-scooters and e-boards can legally be used and whether e-scooters and e-boards need to be registered with the relevant road traffic authority”. How many people a) read that disclaimer and b) go off to research the rules? I think the fact they’re available for purchase implies that they are legal for use.
The first scooter advertised on the wheelygoes.com.au website - Segway Ninebot Max - includes blatantly misleading claims, suggesting you can “travel at incredible distances like from the Melbourne CBD to the Yarra Valley” and “reach speeds of up to 30km/hr”. It doesn’t mention anywhere that it can’t be used on footpaths or roads in Victoria.
We seem to be in this perverse situation where the government is allowing retailers to sell products which are not legal to use. The average person isn’t even aware they are purchasing something which they could be fined in excess of $800 for using.
Perhaps the intent here of the retailers and manufacturers deserves further consideration.
The hire Scooter company - Lime outwitted the system in Queensland by setting up a challenge between the law and public perception? The outcome, was a direction from the responsible State Minister that effectively countered advice from his own department that use of the Lime Scooters was illegal and could result in fines of more than $10,000.
More widely once enough consumers purchase any of the e-transport toys or mobility ride ons including Segways, will the level of illegal use force a show down across all the states. Consumers fighting the oppression of the rule of law and politicians for the freedom, convenience, and green credentials of e-machines?
On the flip side how legal use, motor power and speed limitations will be enforced, (children included) seems like one significant source of conflict. Another is the increased potential for interaction between motor vehicles and riders, particularly around driveways, or at road crossings. I’ve yet to see an e-scooter rider dismount to cross the road on foot; where their use on a Brisbane City Council road is not permitted.
The use of the powerful 800W Segway in autonomous follow me mode as a shopping carry will appeal to some. But where does it fit in the definitions of legal use?
It would appear we are all being offered the opportunity to become bushrangers and defy the law until such time as the law catches up. Or is this simply a case of retailers exploiting loop holes because the ACCC and state consumer laws are too slow to act? The Commonwealth also has the power to control or prohibit importation.
We have more than our fair share of nanny type laws, most with good intentions, that contribute to making us a backwater of modern life. Bicycle helmets are a personal pet peeve. Worthwhile for ‘real riders’ on the road or mountain bikers, but how many of us seniors have they saved while we ride on the paths for a bit of exercise? It probably dissuades more of us than protects the others, adding to the medicare burden by our diminished health. Yes, arguable and my intent is not to introduce that already underway discussion here, again, but to reference our laws against our increasingly nanny-ish culture of having to protect everyone from everything to zero harm no matter how ludicrous or at what cost on us as long is it is not on businesses.
Segways and escooters (and unsafe general products)? Arguably dangerous in some settings but the governments responsible seem more concerned with putting the onus on buyers/riders through revenue raising fines for use while they are enabling a dollar in a business’s pocket selling them. Could the real goal be fines plus taxes?
In the framework of how our society and systems appear to function, one obvious outcome.
In other nations and places, it would seem the use of bicycles etc, is well considered and amiably accepted by all of the community.
Perhaps the better way to have introduced the changes upon us would be for the community to work with the retailers and government, ahead of the products being readily available. Education and acceptance as a community of responsible use in shared public space would seem a better outcome. If only all would accept they are part of the same community? Divided we stand, would seem the outcome of a recent ABC survey and program initiative.
This lack of shared community, perhaps provides the scope and drive for the rule of law to expand. As impractical as it may appear to many.
That it is based often on the views of 50% or less of the party, with often a first preference of less than 40% from the voting public, might leave 80% of us asking how we got there.
Being generally without uppermost body hair, bike helmets seem less of a burden. However that is more a distraction than the cause for concern here. Some of us are more prone to running into things or falling off.
I propose the rules for Australian marathons be changed to protect the public and runners from serious crashes. Make it time-speed-distance like the road rallies where the winner is determined by the one who goes through the checkpoints in the closest to perfect time based on the speed limits between the checkpoints.
10 kph max, or as posted on the footpaths. Penalty for infringement, TBD.
I forget which of us posted, but they reported they were once privy to a try and reported it went like ‘When you have 7 negotiators in a room and each already has it perfect it is difficult to get any to move’.
Unfortunatelu in Australia it is not illegal to sell products which don’t meet specific local requirements. This was part of the discussion in the Bidet thread.
Selling products and making money is the sole purpose of many business individuals. How their product is used is possibly not their responsibility.
For example, if one asked why they sold scooters which travelled say greater than 1-km/h, I suspect they would argue that it is up to the rider to ensure speed limits are obeyed (not dissimilar to drivers in a car where cars can easily exceed speed limited).
In relation to maximum power output, they could claim that the these scooters have a particular use such as for security guards in shopping centres etc whereby the use is not on the footpath.
What one needs to do before purchasing any products which may push the existing rules in place, is to be familiar with the rules of use before deciding to make a purchase. If one makes a purchase, then one should be asking retail staff about what measures the device has to comply with the current rules. Say for speed, can the speed be limited electronically say using an app or does the scooter have a speedometer either fitted or as an option.
i tell you what i saw an idiot not long ago on one of these motorised things he was not even looking where he was going.had no helmet on. i swear i was driving on a main road he was coming right towards me riding it in the gutter.i am not going to be responsible for is inaction if i was to hit him.how the hell are these things allowed on the road who allows it.i felt like dragging him to the cop shop,
Somethings are only unlawful if they are enforced and the individuals held to account.
I’m inspired as two days ago I was close to colliding with an oncoming mini bike that mounted the footpath. I was about to step onto the road at a set of lights, when it appeared from the edge of the passing traffic. The rider was mature aged and not a child. The helmet was garishly adorned and the face disguised.
There are a small minority who choose to act differently. I suspect that the exceptions are all too easily held up as everyday reasons for more draconian controls. The ability to have a reasoned and considered discussion or review is potentially extinguished by their actions. They enable a less liberal authoritarian right to have undue influence.
Around a year ago. I was driving into the Cairns CBD on the 80km/h Southern Access Road when I witnessed some idiot not only riding an electric scooter without a helmet, but looking at his smart phone.
I have to disagree as one of my friends probably wouldn’t be here if he hadn’t been wearing a helmet while riding on a bike path and another of my friends smashed her head into a car windscreen when she was hit and most likely would have had severe head injuries as well as the back injuries she sustained if she hadn’t been wearing a helmet
I would never support a law that required riders to not wear bike helmets.
Likewise those who ride on main roads should wear them, but I do not agree it is societies place to try to shield and protect every one of us from ourselves and our consciously made choices. For example, humans are too ingenious to allow the 512+ page Vic Road Rules that include push bike rules to reduce injuries to zero, and they never will.
On balance giving me a bit of freedom to ride slowly on a trail as I am wont to do, a bit of wind in the hair I have left, could prolong my life a few weeks through better exercise I might not do with the helmet, on a warm day.
Does that argument apply to seatbelts? What about another ‘nanny state’ issue - vaccines? Should the government require parents to vaccinate their children, or is it a decision for the parent?
While there may be a line to be drawn somewhere regarding how much the state should interfere in our lives - and we have had plenty of governments that have undoubtedly crossed that line over the years - I am not sure that bike helmets are necessarily over that line.
One can imagine a circumstance, for instance, when an elderly and almost hairless gentleman is riding along a quiet trail with the wind gently tousling those few remaining locks, when he is bowled over by some hoon on a trailbike/motorised scooter/other fast contraption you may or may not care to name and suffers serious head injuries. While said hoon will undoubtedly be in trouble, their lawyer will no doubt answer to the court that your lack of helmet contributed to your injuries and the charges should be downgraded from assault causing actual bodily harm to ‘dangerous riding’.
Of course the hoon will suffer for the rest of their life knowing that they ruined the sunset of some elderly gentleman’s time on this planet - but that’s not your problem, it’s theirs. Then again, what if you are knocked off your bike by a police officer in hot pursuit of said hoon?
I am simply putting out hypotheticals, to see at what point we want government to step in to save us from ourselves. (Why did Geoffrey Robertson have to leave this country?!)
If e-scooters were legal (and if I weighed less, I’m a BIG girl!) I would have one, in a heartbeat. The bus stop is too far for me to walk, and a foldable lightweight electric scooter would allow me to use public transport and dispense with my car. I want one (but not before I lose another 10Kg.)
I think you can see me through my iPad.
Although, many of us might resemble that.
I do get odd looks from those not in the know for wearing things on my head by choice when others would not. Although the bright safety fluro colours seem not to be ‘on trend’ despite their popularity with the cycling community.
The spate of deaths and serious debilitating injuries resulting from simple head injuries caused by one off ‘coward punches’ demonstrates just how vulnerable our heads are. Falling and striking your head under any circumstance puts all of us, young or older, at significant risk.
Whether protection against such things is legislated, we are still lucky in our medical system. The community even shares the cost. It is very adept at keeping us alive in a vegetative state, if that is what our loved ones choose. All the harder for those who are left to make the choice to turn it off?
That they are, but give me some latitude because of the previous disparate views regarding legislation (and ensuing fines and penalties). Does that imply it should be legislated that everyone walking on a footpath (or just on King Street Melbourne after 10PM) should wear a sparring helmet in case they get king hit and might fall to the concrete?
Of course they should wear a sparring helmet and I add body padding to that list if they are in a drinking precinct. And mouthguards, and perhaps have a bar code tattooed on their forehead to verify age.
I agree that not everything we have as choices needs legislation, some should just be a choice of risk assessment by the participant. Wearing helmets on your property on your scooter should be your choice, doing it on public land or thoroughfare is perhaps not so OK. The cost of looking after someone who is injured can be daunting to the public purse as well as the damage it creates for the person/s involved and their Loved ones. That statement is not about our removing enjoyment because of cost and risk so much as it is about minimising the risk as much as possible when in public places which are Govt controlled for the most part. Does it make a difference to risk if done privately, no it doesn’t nor does it alter the costs of accidents, but it does involve freedom to enjoy your private property and activities that may occur there.