THE popularity of eRideables is likely to increase in the lead up to Christmas but both consumers and the businesses selling them need to be aware of new rules now in place.
Consumer Protection is urging shoppers to consider the new rules covering the use of electric rideable devices (eRideables) that are now in effect before deciding to purchase.
Retailers of eRideables such as eScooters and eSkateboards are warned not to mislead consumers about what is or is not allowed when it comes to using them on public paths or roads.
The Road Safety Commission has set new rules designed to make eRideable use safer for the community:
- eRideables speed to be no more than 10km/hr on footpaths and up to 25km/hr on bicycle paths, shared paths and local roads;
- Users of eRideables must be at least 16 years of age. However, children under the age of 16 years can still use low powered, low speed motorised scooters with a maximum power output of 200w and maximum speed of 10 km/h;
- Helmets will be compulsory, with other protective gear such as knee and elbow pads strongly recommended;
- Give way to pedestrians, keep left and use a bell or verbal warning when approaching other path users;
- Use lights and reflectors when riding at night;
- Mobile phones not to be used and eRiders must comply with drink/drug driving road laws; and
- Only one person at a time per device.
Consumer Protection commissioner Gary Newcombe said consumers needed to familiarise themselves with the new rules in order to make an informed choice.
“The popularity of eRideables, especially as Christmas gifts this year, means they will be in hot demand, but we don’t want the purchase to end in disappointment if the devices don’t meet the required criteria and their use is restricted,’’ he said.
Mr Newcombe said retailers would need to look closely at the rules and ensure they are not selling eRideable devices that exceed size, weight and speed capabilities.
They also have an obligation to potential buyers not to mislead them about what speeds are allowed, where the devices can be used and the age limit that applies.
“It may be the case that some models can only be used on private property, so consumers must be informed of this before buying as it may not be fit for purpose, resulting in a claim for a refund or replacement.
“Another safety aspect to be aware of is that most eRideables are powered by lithium-ion batteries, which can catch fire if they are overcharged, damaged or not approved for use in Australia.
“Overnight or unsupervised charging can therefore be dangerous, so the devices should be unplugged as soon as a full charge is reached.
“Only use the battery and charger provided with the equipment and be cautious about purchasing any electrical items from overseas.”
Road Safety commissioner Adrian Warner said the new rules set safe speeds and safety features – such as lights, helmets and warning bells – and encouraged safe interactions between all road and path users.
“With the use of eRideables becoming more common, it is important that our rules keep up with advances in technology and cater for these new devices coming onto the market,” he said.
“eRideables are a great innovation which contribute to reductions in congestion, a healthier lifestyle and greater choice and flexibility when travelling, but we need to ensure they’re used safely and sensibly.
“People should resist the urge to modify the speed limiter as they run the risk of seriously injuring themself or someone else and if they’re caught doing over 25km/h they run the risk of having their eRideable seized and forfeited.
“The new legislation follows public consultation with more than 1600 road and path users, which gave overwhelming support for the proposed speed and safety requirements.”
Further details about the new eRideable regulations can be found on the Road Safety Commission website.
Battery charging safety information is available on the Building and Energy website.
Consumers who feel they have been misled should try to resolve the issue with the retailer first, but if unresolved, contact Consumer Protection by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1300 304 054.