The next step in reducing congestion
We know that many Tasmanians are not keen on taking the bus or riding a bike to and from work.
They tell us that bus stops are too far to walk, buses are too infrequent and, for many, the journey just takes too long.
But now, we’re on the brink of a potential transport shift in Tasmania that will improve first and last-mile connections to and from public transport.
The key to this shift? Personal mobility devices (PMD), such as e-scooters, e-skateboards and segways, which are powered by a small, chargeable electric motor similar to e-bikes*.
This is because PMDs can help to reduce congestion by allowing people to ride to public transport or to work at distances where they wouldn’t normally walk or cycle.
However, while PMDs are already well-established on our roads now, there are no formal regulations or legislation in place that make them street legal right now.
What are the State and Federal governments doing to allow PMDs in Tasmania?
The Federal Government has finalised amendments to the Australian Road Rules (ARR) to include a model framework* for the regulation of PMDs, including e-scooters. It is up to each state and territory whether they introduce the new rules as written or with changes.
During the 2021 Election, the State Government made a commitment, within 60 days of being elected, to identify what regulatory and/or legislative changes are needed to safely allow e-scooters and other PMDs in Tasmania.
Some of the changes being considered by the government over the coming months, as outlined by the model framework in the ARRs, state that people using these devices:
- Can't go faster than 25km/h
- Can ride on bicycle paths and roads that have a speed limit of no more than 50km/h
- Can ride on footpaths or shared paths but must keep to the left of and give way to pedestrians
- Can't ride on pedestrian-only paths
- Can't be towed behind a vehicle or be within 2 metres of a moving car
- Can't tow other objects or carry people/animals
- Must wear a helmet
- Must keep to the left of other PMD devices or cyclists
- Can only use a PMD at night or in hazardous weather with white front and red rear lights, as well as a red reflector
We have been kept well informed about this process and fully support the implementation of e-scooters and other PMDs in Tasmania to reduce congestion.
What about sharing schemes?
In parallel to the government's legislative process, the City of Hobart and City of Launceston will select an operator to run a 12-month e-scooter share scheme trial by the end of 2021. The expressions of interest (EOI) process has concluded, with a winning company to be announced soon.
It will be a user-pays, app-based scheme where people can hire these e-scooters from key locations within geographical zones. Those expected to benefit most from the trial will be people living close to each CBD and near public transport, or people travelling around the city each day.
The exact location of the trials, parking sites and travel limits will be determined as part of the EOI process and tweaked during the trial.
Can I ride a PMD now?
You can't ride a PMD in Tasmania at the moment as there is nothing governing their use on public roads. This legislative change has been the result of their growing popularity, particularly e-scooters.
We encourage all Tasmanians to wait until the new regulations and/or legislative changes come into effect before riding a PMD on public roads.
*This model framework excludes e-bikes, which are covered by the Tasmanian Road Rules and the Vehicle and Traffic Act 1999.