Scoot over

Nearly half of all electric scooter riders are breaking the law.

An observational study of electric scooters, in Brisbane’s CBD found nearly half of all riders were breaking the law.

The study, Illegal and risky riding of electric scooters in Brisbane, found 45% of people using e-scooters rode illegally by carrying a passenger, failing to wear a helmet or riding on the road.

The main form of illegal riding discovered was users failing to wear a helmet with 39% of riders ignoring the safety regulation.

QUT’s Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS-Q) Professor Narelle Haworth conducted the study on passing scooters at six locations around central Brisbane.

“It was shocking to find that 45% of the shared scooters were being used illegally,” Prof. Haworth said.

“It was particularly concerning the number of riders not wearing a helmet due to the heightened risk of head injury.

“We heard from numerous hospitals that they had experienced increased cases of minor and major head injuries from people operating scooters.”

The Royal Australian College of Surgeons and the Australian Injury Prevention Network found more than 134 electric scooter riders were taken to Brisbane hospitals in January and February 2019.

Of those admitted, 27% had limb fractures and 14% presented with head injuries.

RACQ Manager Motoring Advice Joel Tucker said it was disappointing so many riders were caught breaking the law.

“Riders need to ride responsibly, stick to the rules and give way to pedestrians on the footpath,” Mr Tucker said.

“All riders need to wear helmets, as it is a legal requirement and they can protect you from permanent and severe injuries and even save your life in a crash. 

“It’s the responsibility of the rider to ensure they’re riding safely. 

“Don’t double up as the scooters are not designed for two” 

Electric scooter company Lime reported more than 12,000 helmets had been stolen in Brisbane in its first 10 months of operation. 

Rival company Neuron Mobility also reported more than 600 helmets had been stolen since the company launched in Brisbane in August. 

Laws for personal mobility devices in Queensland:

  • Riders must be at least 16 years of age or 12 with adult supervision.
  • Riders must wear an approved helmet that is securely fitted at all times (unless an exemption has been granted for medical or religious reasons).
  • Riders must not carry passengers.
  • Riders must not use a mobile device.
  • Riders must not drink and ride.
  • Riders are not allowed on CBD streets and main roads.
  • Riders cannot be towed by another vehicle, hold on to the back of a car or ride within 2m of the rear of moving motor vehicle continuously for more than 200m.
  • A working flashing or steady white light must be fitted on the front and red light and reflector at the rear when travelling at night or in hazardous conditions.

When riding on a path:

  • Keep left and give way to pedestrians.
  • Travel at a speed that allows you to stop and safely avoid colliding with a pedestrian.
  • Keep left of oncoming bicycles and other personal mobility devices.
  • Only use the bicycle side of a shared path.


If caught not complying with these laws you can be fined at least $133. For more information on the rules for personal mobility device, visit the Queensland Government website.