Electric Scooters in Austin - Keep up to speed with new riding laws

Daniel Foley
Written By: Daniel Foley
Published on: 6/22/2024

New e scooter laws now operate in Austin, starting in May 2024. So you definitely need to know the changes affecting speed limits, riding sidewalks and penalty fines - or risk getting a ticket!

The new rules apply to all e scooter riders. No matter whether you simply use one of the city's hire scooter schemes. Or you've opted for a zippy, cool commute on your own, personal lightweight electric scooter.

In this article ... we'll give you all the e scooter essentials to keep you riding street legal and parking safe! in the city of Austin.

Let's get to it ...

Riding e scooters in Austin - what are the laws I need to know?

Some background stuff

Austin transportation changed when the first electric scooters arrived in 2018. Accompanied by riding and parking laws, which were upgraded in May 2019, affecting cell phone use, parking and speed limits. Further changes to speed limits came into force in April 2024.

Texas state generally classifies electric scooters in the same way as bicycles. But as with many other cities and local areas, Austin will also set its own regulations on how and where e scooters can be used.

Electric Scooters in Austin

BEFORE you ride an electric scooter in Austin

  • Children age 18 years and under MUST wear a safety helmet, which should also be securely fastened. Serious head injuries are known to be the biggest result of accidents on e scooters.
  • All riders aged 18 and above - are strongly advised to wear a helmet. Although no official law is currently in place, scooter rental companies will require you to wear a helmet.

Sidewalks prohibition Austin

WHERE you CAN and CANNOT ride an e scooter in Austin

Sidewalks, Roads and Bike lanes

YES - you can ride your electric scooter on most sidewalks and roads, but not all. Many areas in downtown Austin are definitely off-limits. And you may not be allowed to ride the sidewalks and pathways on the University of Texas campus.

YES - to riding your e scooter in designated bike lanes, including direct commuter routes, such as Congress Avenue and Lavaca Street.


Trails and public parks

NO - most public parks, and hike trails are classed as private property, including the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail on Lady Bird Lake.

But there is one exception! A new scheme brought in end of 2023 permits you to ride an electric scooter on four local trails, which means:

YES - to riding your e scooter in the greenbelt areas of:

  • Johnson Creek
  • Shoal Creek
  • plus
  • Northern Walnut Creek, and
  • Southern Walnut Creek

Transportation bridges

YES - you're allowed to ride transportation bridges connecting with the Butler trail, including:

What 's the different ways to access electric scooters in Austin?

The two main methods are:

  • Hire "dockless" e scooters - which means no fixed "home location". From April 2024, these are run by TWO operators only - Bird and Lime. You will need to pick and drop off your hire scooter off at designated locations.
  • Take out a monthly (cancel at any time) rental subscription - on your own "personal" scooter from private vendors, such as Unagi. Who will deliver your scooter directly to your door.

Unagi All-Access Rental Cobalt Electric Scooter

WHAT'S the SPEED LIMIT in Austin for riding e scooters?

  • 24.1 km/h (15 mph) - is the speed limit for riding electric scooters across the city.

IMPORTANT: In April 2024, city leaders reduced the maximum speed limit to:

WHERE can I legally park my e scooter in Austin?

Under Austin city rules, riders are allowed to dock scooters in:

  • Public bike racks, or
  • "Geofenced" areas reserved by individual scooter providers

All riders MUST park their electric scooter:

  • On the curbside of the sidewalk, and near to its landscape/furniture zone

And you MUST also:

  • Leave at least one meter (three feet) of unrestricted space for pedestrians to safely walk
  • Park your scooter upright, NOT lying on the ground or leaning against sign posts, walls or street furniture.

You CANNOT park your e scooter:

  • In loading zones
  • On ramps
  • Along sidewalk railings
  • At bus stops and public transit shelters
  • In disabled parking zones
  • At sidewalk cafes and on their patios
  • Pay stations
  • Obstructing benches

legally park my e scooter

How do you rent an electric scooter in Austin?

You can simply subscribe online to a scheme run by Unagi scooters called the All Access Membership. You can be offered up to 2 or more free months rental at different times of the year.

Unagi All-Access Rental Cool Mist Electric Scooter

What's the fine for breaking e scooter laws in Austin?

As of May 2019, and currently, violation of e scooter laws is a "Class C misdemeanor", for which you will be handed:

  • $20 fine for first time offenders parking escooters in a public right-of-way
  • $40 fine for EACH additional violation of an e scooter law

Common violations include:

  • Tandem riding - two people riding on an e scooter deck
  • Using a cellphone while riding - you MUST go hands-free.
  • NOT stopping at traffic lights and stop signs
  • NOT giving way to traffic when required
  • NOT giving way to pedestrians
  • NOT parking properly and in designated areas

Electric Scooters in Austin


Whether you pick up a public hire scooter on the fly or subscribe to a private, lightweight electric scooter rental, you need to follow the Austin laws. Particularly, if you're heading to a downtown area or hiking trail. You MUST keep to the 24.1 km/h (15 mph) speed limit and park properly!

Since April 2024, the number of public hire scooters allowed on the streets was cut by 40% from 14,000 to 8,700, with the aim of having no more than 6,700. Scooters allowed downtown are also cut by 50% from 4,500 to 2,250.

It definitely seems you need to subscribe to a private rental scheme if you're up for the freedom of instant, mobility transportation in Austin, Texas.

How much does it cost to rent an electric scooter in Austin?

Dockless scooters - offer either a flat rate for a 30 minute hire or a number of free minutes with a cost of $1 to $2 per ride plus tax.

A personal subscription to Unagi All Access Membership - currently costs between $59 to $89 per month, depending on e scooter model, and if new or refurbished.

Grab yourself a lightweight electric scooter for fast, affordable commuting in Austin!

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.

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