Australian law recognises electric skateboards as “wheeled recreational devices.” Under Australian Road Rules, this category besides electric skateboards includes scooters, rollerblades, skateboards and electric devices with a motor under 200 watts.
Unlike cyclists, skateboards are listed as pedestrians and this determines to a large degree appropriate use of electric skateboards in legal terms.
The important thing to note is that 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 and electric skateboards are treated differently in particular states' laws.
Let’s now see where you can have fun with your favorite wheeled recreational device and where you are not allowed to.
Similar restrictions apply to electric skateboards as for pedestrians. You are not allowed to ride an electric skateboard on roads with median strips, one-way roads with more than one marked lane, or any road where the speed limit is greater than 50 kilometers per hour.
Very important to note is that the law forbids riding an electronic skateboard at night. You can have fun with your cool device only during daylight hours.
In some states in Australia, such as New South Wales, you are allowed to ride an electric skateboard only on a private land. So, you can’t ride it on any path or a road, or in public in general, at any time.
Also, in some Australian states, electric skateboards are not listed and recognised by the law so it would be safe to assume that they are not allowed in public.
Where Can You Ride an Electric Skateboard
The safest places to ride your electric skateboard and have fun with are skateboard parks, squares and similar places with no traffic.
You can also use footpaths, shared paths, bicycle paths, if you would like to take a ride to work or school, for example. Of course, there are also rules you must stick to if you want the ride to be legitimate. Similar rules apply here as for bicyclists on a footpath.
Here are some clear instructions that you should follow in this scenario according to Part 14, REG 242 of the Australian Road Rules:
● “A person traveling in or on a wheeled recreational device or wheeled toy on a footpath or shared path must keep to the left of the footpath or shared path unless it is impracticable to do so.
● “[You must] give way to any pedestrian (except a person traveling in or on a wheeled recreational device or wheeled toy) who is on the footpath or shared path.”
● “Bicycle riders on footpaths and shared paths must give way to persons traveling in or on wheeled recreational devices or toys.”
Practically this means you must slow down or stop if necessary to avoid collision with pedestrians who have an advantage in legal terms over wheeled recreational devices on a footpath.
On the other side, if you get in a situation with a bike on a footpath, the law recognises your device as pedestrian and the advantage is yours.
Also, you are allowed to cross the aforementioned roads (with a speed limit of 60km/h) when it’s the shortest possible route to the other side. So, if your destination is at the other side of that kind of road you can cross it without getting off your skateboard (assuming you omit other road rules).
Perhaps it is superfluous to say, but there are footpaths with a sign forbidding bicycles, rollers, skateboards, etc, meant exclusively for pedestrians. So, it’s not legal to ride your electric skateboard on such footpaths.
Helmets and Electric SkateboardsUnder Australian Road Rules is not clear if you are obligated to wear a helmet. Yet, Australian Capital Territory Law is strict about this matter - You must wear an approved bicycle helmet when riding an electric skateboard.
In any case, if some states’ laws are unclear about the appropriate usage of these devices, it is highly recommendable to use a helmet during a ride. Head injuries are never harmless so you should stay safe while having fun with your electric skateboard, legally, as explained.
So be careful out there guys and girls, safety first, follow the law and have fun!
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