Do You Need a License to Ride an Electric Scooter in Australia?

Daniel Foley
Written By: Daniel Foley
Updated on: 5/3/2024
Published on: 1/13/2021

You’ve seen them all over your city’s streets, and everyone who rides one looks absolutely thrilled. So, why haven’t you picked up your own folding electric scooter yet? Maybe you’re worried about whether e-scooters require a driver’s license, or a specialized license like motorcycles? Maybe you don’t have a driver’s license. Can you still ride an electric scooter, shared or otherwise?

Man riding Unagi electric scooter

In some Australian States and Territories, such as SA, QLD, NT & WA, you can ride e-scooters with a normal driver’s license. In other Australian States and Territories like NSW, ACT, TAS & VIC, though, you can only ride an electric scooter after undergoing training and when the motorised scooter passes the appropriate motorcycle test.

Urban commuter male scooter rider

First, we need to define what we mean by motorized electric scooter. The term can mean a number of things, from folding scooters like Unagi’s Model One to two-wheeled seated scooters that are more moped-like and have more powerful motors and larger batteries. For the purposes of Australian law, "a motorised scooter means a device that:

  • is designed to be used by a single person
  • has two or more wheels and a footboard supported by the wheels
  • is steered by handlebars
  • is propelled by a motor or motors having a combined maximum power output not exceeding 200 watts.

To be assessed as a ‘non-road’ vehicle, a motorised scooter must have a maximum power output of 200 watts or less.

Male scooter rider Unagi bridge

Technical specifications issued by the manufacturer, including evidence of the power output, should be attached to the application form.

Please note that where a motorised scooter exceeds 200 watts, and does not meet the definition of a Personal Mobility Device, it may be considered a LA/LB (Moped) under the national standards or a LC (Motorcycle) and must comply with the requirements of other import options.

These vehicles cannot be imported as ‘non-road’ vehicles unless they meet other ‘non-road’ vehicle requirements.

Generally, when a vehicle is designed for ‘non-road’ or recreational use only it will include design features such as:


  • deeply treaded tyres suitable for rough or uneven terrain
  • substantial suspension travel
  • high ground clearance
  • mudguards
  • vehicle design suitable for off-road stability
  • manufacturer's specifications which outlines the vehicle was made strictly for ‘non-road’ use.

In addition, these vehicles should not have road motor vehicle design features, such as:

  • provision for mounting a registration plate
  • direction indicator(s)
  • brake lights
  • headlight(s)
  • rear vision mirror(s)."

Australia has set a good example of adapting to emerging technology, at least when it comes to scooters. Most countries have failed to pass legislation that sets guidelines for scooter specifications and riding, leaving many in a legal grey area. In Australia though, the laws are relatively clear-cut.

Young woman sunny day electric scooter

Conclusion

The laws around electric scooter riding are constantly evolving. With new scooter-specific laws set to be passed in 2021, the grey area scooters currently sit in should become more clear. The positive news for prospective and existing Unagi riders is that over the first 3 years of the meteoric rise of folding electric scooters in the world, regulatory bodies seem to have been shifting toward regulating small forms of micromobility (like scooters) differently than larger vehicles like mopeds and motorcycles. Governments love how they aid to achieve equitable transportation goals (since many cannot afford a car, gas, parking, and auto insurance), as well as drastically reduce carbon footprints with vehicles that are human-sized and electric. And they’re easier to operate and straight up fun.



Daniel Foley
Daniel Foley

Daniel tests all the latest e-scooters and currently enjoys the Unagi Voyager as a daily driver for it's light weight, good range, and stylish look.

Need to Knows
Maximizing Electric Scooter Battery Life: Maintenance Tips and Best Practices
Maximizing Electric Scooter Battery Life: Maintenance Tips and Best Practices

Want to get the most out of your electric scooter battery and extend your riding adventures? We've got you covered with our comprehensive guide full of maintenance tips and best practices.

The True Environmental Impact of Electric Scooters
The True Environmental Impact of Electric Scooters

It’s beyond question that we must drastically reduce carbon emissions in the coming years to head off the worst effects of climate change. How we do that has been a matter of considerably drawn-out debate. As individuals, it can be…

Do You Need Insurance for an Electric Scooter?
Do You Need Insurance for an Electric Scooter?

If you're considering riding an electric scooter for the daily urban commute - or even just for recreation - this article will give you the lowdown on getting insurance for an electric scooter.

Can You Ride an Electric Scooter on the Road?
Can You Ride an Electric Scooter on the Road?

In many regions, there's a clear restriction against riding electric scooters on the road, with the rules steering their use towards designated areas such as bicycle lanes, multi-use paths, and shared street paths.

Do You Need a License to Ride an Electric Scooter in Australia?
Do You Need a License to Ride an Electric Scooter in Australia?

You’ve seen them all over your city’s streets, and everyone who rides one looks absolutely thrilled. So, why haven’t you picked up your own folding electric scooter yet?

Can You Ride an Electric Scooter on the Sidewalk in Australia?
Can You Ride an Electric Scooter on the Sidewalk in Australia?

It’s a reasonable question to ask. After all, it seems like the safer option. Can you, and should you, ride an electric scooter on the sidewalk? In many cases, the answer is no: you cannot. Story after story in electric…

Why Electric Scooters Are a Must Have for Commuters
Why Electric Scooters Are a Must Have for Commuters

Micromobility is the “future of urban transportation,” analysts write in an extensive report from Deloitte, and electric scooters lead the way: “Adoption rates during their short time on the market have been impressive, surpassing that seen by popular ride-hailing applications…

Public Transportation in a Post-COVID World
Public Transportation in a Post-COVID World

In only a few short months, the current pandemic has changed the way we do nearly everything, from getting to work to gathering (or not) in public. Fears of the virus multiply when it comes to public transportation. Public transit…

Electric Scooters: Range vs Weight
Electric Scooters: Range vs Weight

Advances in battery technology have led to a market filled with high-quality electric scooters for everything from tooling around the neighborhood to competitive off-road racing. It’s an exciting time to buy a scooter, but also a confusing time, given the…

/au/amp/scooter-articles/do-you-need-a-license-to-ride-an-electric-scooter