Electric scooter riders in Echuca and Moama have been warned by police after riders arrested by authorities last week claimed they were unaware riding scooters on public roads or trails was illegal.
Police will make a concerted effort to fix the problem, saying e-scooter riders were “wrong” to think they could ride the scooters the same way they do bikes.
No fines were issued by Echuca Police, but after an incident in Melbourne involving a driver who tried to run over four e-scooter riders, the issue made national headlines.
The police are aware that e-scooter riders are breaking the law in Echuca and will no longer accept ignorance of the rules as an excuse.
Victoria is involved in an e-scooter trial program, allowing people to rent e-scooters and ride them on cycle lanes, shared paths and low-speed roads (up to 50 km/h).
The trial of the e-scooter is taking place in the City of Melbourne, the City of Yarra, the City of Port Phillip and the City of Ballarat, the latter being the only regional council involved in the trial.
During the trial, private electric scooters will continue to be prohibited on public roads and road-related areas.
The St Kilda Rd incident involving four scooter riders and a vehicle resulted in no injuries, but two of the scooters were knocked over by the vehicle.
Several rules apply to the use of electric scooters, which are available for rental in several other states through various commercial companies.
The minimum age to ride an e-scooter in the trial is 18 and although people don’t need a license any violation can result in that license being revoked or suspended.
This includes a learner’s license, with drink or drug driving restrictions also applying to e-scooters.
The fine for riding an electric scooter in an area other than participating local government areas is $182, the same amount applied to someone riding a high-powered electric scooter that is not part of an electronic program exploited for commercial purposes.
Other fines relate to driving an electric scooter on a footpath, driving over 50 km/h or driving in a pattern other than single file.
There is also a fine for having more than one person on a scooter.
There are fines of $227 for traveling over 20 km/h on a scooter and consuming intoxicating alcohol while riding an e-scooter.
Giant Bicycles Echuca manager Nick McNair said his store does not stock electric scooters, but he can understand the confusion over the legality of riding the popular battery-powered scooters on the roads.
“We regularly have people coming in asking questions about them, but we don’t store any of them,” McNair said.
“I wasn’t sure, but I felt like it wasn’t legal to ride them on public roads or trails.
“They’re more of an online thing.”
He said his company is not looking to get involved in the sale of electric scooters.
“They all look like a nightmare to fix and it’s not really the crowd we’re looking to attract,” he said.
Mr McNair said he saw “a lot of people getting around on electric scooters” in Echuca.
“They are everywhere on weekends. Probably for about six months,” he said.
“All you have to do is sit on High St to see how many there are.”
Echuca Police Sergeant Paul Nicholl speaks with Riv Herald reporter Adair Winder on the police response to the electric scooter problem on page 3 today.