Ask LH: Where Can I (Legally) Ride My Electric Skateboard In Australia?

Ask LH: Where Can I (Legally) Ride My Electric Skateboard In Australia?

I am in the market for an electric skateboard and was wondering where I am legally aloud to ride it? There are a lot of bike paths around my home and the commute to work so can it be used on them even if I need to wear a helmet? Thanks, Sk8er Boi

Electric skateboard image from Shutterstock

Dear SB,

Under Australian Road Rules, electric skateboards are listed as “wheeled recreational devices.” This is a separate category to bicycles which includes scooters, rollerblades, skateboards and electric devices with a motor under 200 watts.

Unlike cyclists, skateboarders are classed as pedestrians. This means you cannot ride your 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 kilometres per hour.

You are, however, permitted to cross the aforementioned roads when it’s the shortest possible route to the other side. For example, if you needed to get to a skate park and the road in between has a speed limit of 60km/h, you do not have to get off your skateboard while crossing (provided all other road rules are being adhered to.)

You must also refrain from riding on any road at night. Electric skateboards can only be used during daylight hours.

When travelling on a footpath, the rules you need to follow are quite similar to bicycle riders. As outlined in Part 14, REG 242 of the Australian Road Rules:

“A person travelling 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 travelling in or on a wheeled recreational device or wheeled toy) who is on the footpath or shared path.”

This means you are legally obliged to slow down and, if necessary, stop to avoid a collision with people walking on the same footpath. (In other words, use common sense.)

Naturally, you can’t ride on any footpath that’s posted with a sign prohibiting the use of recreational devices, such as the one depicted above.

Interestingly, while electric skateboarders need to follow the same footpath rules as bicycles, they are still considered pedestrians when encountering a bike:

“Bicycle riders on footpaths and shared paths must give way to persons travelling in or on wheeled recreational devices or toys.”

The law isn’t clear on whether you need to wear a helmet while riding an electric skateboard. Currently, motorbikes, bicycles and motorised scooters are the only vehicles that are specifically mentioned by the Australian Transport Council. However, we strongly advise wearing one regardless of what the rules are — according to a recent study by the University of Sydney, you are 5.5 times more likely to suffer a severe head injury when riding without a helmet. Stay sensible.

Cheers Lifehacker

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    • This information refers to registered vehicles for road use. As mentioned, wheeled recreational devices with motors under 200 watts are not considered vehicles (and thus, do not need to be registered.)

      • Did you check out the link though?

        Prohibited vehicles
        – Motorised skateboards – electric/petrol engine.

        These types of devices must not be used on roads or in any public areas such as footpaths, car parks and parks.

        That seems pretty clear.

        • The linked article also claims that motorised scooters are prohibited, which completely contradicts each state’s Australian Road Rules handbook. (Motorised scooters are specifically mentioned in the “wheeled recreational devices” section.)

          I’m going to contact the Australian Transport Council for clarification.

  • Do the same rules apply to the self balancing scooter things? I was thinking of getting one sometime soon

  • There is no contradiction with the Australian Road Rules, which clearly state, in the dictionary at the end, that a wheeled recreational vehicle “means a wheeled device, built to transport a person, propelled by human power or gravity, and ordinarily used for recreation or play”. There is no mention of electric power. Some of the rules mention wheeled recreational vehicles and motorised scooters together, but they do not imply that they are the same thing. Further, the definition of a motorised scooter in section 244 clearly defines it as not a skateboard, since it must have handlebars, and section 244C says “Motorised Scooters Not to be Used” if prohibited by another law of the jurisdiction. In NSW, as already referenced above, motorised scooters and electric skateboards are explicitly prohibited.

  • I got this response from VicRoads:

    Thank you for your email regarding your electric long board. My name is ******* and I hope this information will help to Resolve your query.

    Sadly, motorised skateboards do not meet the requirements under the Australian Design Standards and can not be registered, see: Therefore, you are unable to use it on any road or road related area. This also applies to hover boards, Segways, and some motorised bicycles, see:

    A road related area is defined as any of the following:
    (a) an area that divides a road;
    (b) a footpath or nature strip adjacent to a road;
    (c) an area that is not a road and that is open to the public and designated for use by cyclists or animals;
    (d) an area that is not a road and that is open to or used by the public for driving, riding or parking motor vehicles;
    (e) a place that is a road related area by virtue of a declaration under section 3(2)(a) of the Road Safety Act 1986

    You would only be able to use the board on private property.

    I hope that this information has satisfactorily addressed your enquiry.

    • I think that person is wrong. As far as I can tell motorised skateboards are classified as ‘wheeled recreational devices’ and can be used on footpaths. This is as per the ‘Authorised Version No. 012 Road Safety Road Rules 2009’. There also is no mention on motor restrictions for the skateboards. Section 241-242.

      • I’m with you… The statutes are a little all over the place to make it easier to prosecute lay-people, hence Vic Roads statement that you can’t ride an electric skateboard anywhere…

        However, from what I can deduct from the Road Safety Road Rules 2009, Revision 019A (the latest):

        1. A Wheeled Recreation Device (WRD) includes a skateboard that has an electric motor, which can be ridden on footpaths, etc. p. 525
        2. Reference to 200 watt max, only applies to bicycles, which specifically excludes WRDs. pp. 488 – 489
        3. A Vehicle (which probably has be be ridden on the road), specifically excludes WDRs pp. 7-8

      • Vicroads very clearly and specifically says that electric skateboards are not permitted on Victorian roads or footpaths and are permitted in private land only.

        While they are classified in the legislation as wheeled recreational vehicles, there is a specific text in that section that reads:

        “You are not allowed to use motorised skateboards, roller skates or roller blades on public roads, footpaths or nature strips. But, you can use these on private property.”


        The response the author got from Vicroads backs this up.

        As far as I can tell motorised skateboards are classified as ‘wheeled recreational devices’ and can be used on footpaths.

        The rules you refer to define wheeled recreational devices as “propelled by human power or gravity” (with a special exception for scooters). Page 507 in the copy I read, in the dictionary section.

  • I can help with some people’s inquiries, though you won’t like the answer. In NSW, where I live, I had a OneWheel self-balancing electric skateboard. I WAS FINED $1625.00 FOR RIDING IT ON THE FOOTPATH (ANYWHERE OUTSIDE PRIVATE PROPERTY). My board had an electric motor of more than 200 watts (an absurdly small power output) – in practical/functional terms, THEY (ELECTRIC SKATEBOARDS) ARE COMPLETELY ILLEGAL. Do not make the same mistake I did – this whole venture has cost me so much time and money

    • People are confusing the issue by talking about maximum power output (eg 200W or 250W), but these maximum power outputs apply to bikes and scooters and signify that higher outputs than this must be classed as road vehicles and satisfy requirements of being registered.

      Electric skateboards are simply not allowed on roads or footpaths in NSW or Victoria (possibly other states) and power output does not affect this.

      To clarify: I wish this were not the case, and I would like for these rules to be changed. But it is the case. For Victoria the rules are laid out here: and for NSW the parent comment can attest to the laws there.

  • I have spent about 4 months dealing with this as an importer in NSW. The scooter in question is 180w and it was stated that the intended use was for road travel. I had to supply over 100 pages of documentation to the Department of Infrastructure. The application was approved.

    On the approval certificate it states:

    “I have considered your application dated 14/11/2017. On the basis of the information in your application, the vehicles in the Schedule below do not appear to be ‘road vehicles’ as defined in the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 (the Act).”

    The fine that NSW police are issuing is for driving an unregistered vehicle. My question is, that if the scooter is certified as being not a road vehicle, how can it be an unregistered vehicle?

    Also, rather than links to Government websites, can anyone find the relevant section of the NSW legislation?

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