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THE NEW ERA: DRINK 'RIDING' ON AN ELECTRIC SCOOTER IN BRISBANE


They’re fast, brightly coloured and get you where you need to be in a time of need.


Those that frequent the Brisbane CBD and surrounding suburbs know them well. They’re a convenient commute option, a fast form of travel to the nearest Saturday night hot-spot and a great way to get around.


Scooter-sharing schemes (similar to bike-sharing or ride-sharing) such as Lime or Neuron Mobility withhold their own safety guidelines and scooter classifications. Where some may not require a valid licence, that is not to say all laws related to driving in Queensland can be disregarded when you jump aboard an electric scooter.


So, before you scan and go, it’s important to be aware of the consequences that come with improper driving of an e-scooter. Let’s start with the basics.


The Fundamental Rules of e-Scooters in Brisbane

One of the more prominent offences seen throughout the Brisbane CBD in recent times is drink driving on an electric scooter. Some may wonder, ‘How can this be, being charged with a drink-driving offence when you’re not behind the wheel?’


Well, therein lies the imposed question, “How much do you really know about the consequences that come with riding an e-scooter?”.


While electric scooters are eligible for all community use (of 18 and older as of 2021), they are still heavily subjected to strict rules in Queensland.


The most fundamental rules are as follows: • You must always wear a helmet when riding electric motorised standing kick scooters • Be at least 18 years of age • Abide by all traffic laws • Do not text/call and ride • Do not be under the influence of alcohol, controlled substances, drugs or any ability-impairing substance


The consequence of defying these rules, laws and regulations are hefty fines. More notable of consequences, however, are those that come with drink driving or (drink ‘riding’).


Getting Charged with Drink Driving on An Electric Scooter

Outlined by section 79 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995:

(1) Offence of driving etc. while under the influence Any person who, while under the influence of liquor or a drug—

(a) drives a motor vehicle, tram, train or vessel; or

(b) attempts to put in motion a motor vehicle, tram, train or vessel; or

(c) is in charge of a motor vehicle, tram, train or vessel; is guilty of an offence and liable to a penalty not exceeding 28 penalty units or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 9 months.

Is an e-Scooter considered a motor vehicle?

At first glance, one would assume it is not. However, let’s take a look.


As provided by the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 – Schedule 4, the definition of a motor vehicle is as follows:

“Motor vehicle” "motor vehicle" means a vehicle propelled by a motor that forms part of the vehicle, and—

(a) includes a trailer attached to the vehicle; but

(b) does not include a motorised scooter, a personal mobility device or a power-assisted bicycle.


Now let’s look into what defines a motorised scooter.


"Motorised scooter" means a scooter that is propelled by 1 or more electric motors and complies with the requirements in paragraph (e) of the definition "scooter".


And paragraph (e) of the definition “scooter” is as follows:


"scooter" means a device that—


(e) if it is fitted with an electric motor or motors (whether the motor or motors are part of, or attached to, the device), complies with the following requirements

(i) its maker certifies (either by means of a plate attached to the motor or each motor, or by means of engraving on the motor or each motor) the ungoverned power output of the motor, or each motor;

(ii) the maximum power output of the motor, or the combined maximum power output of the motors, is not more than 200 watts;

(iii) when propelled only by the motor or motors, the scooter is not capable of going faster than 10 km/h on level ground.

To be classed as a ‘motor vehicle’ and not a ‘motorised scooter’ would then seem quite unfitting giving the above. However, in Queensland, some e-Scooters are set to reach a max speed of 25km/h, taking them out of the ‘motorised scooter’ category, and right back into a motor vehicle status.


Whilst there is still room for debate upon which definition constitutes an electric scooter; it does not diminish the likelihood of facing repercussions due to riding under the influence.


In the end, if you’ve driven an e-scooter whilst under the influence, it’s up to the Queensland court to decide upon the consequence given the individual situation.


Possibility to Face 9 Months’ Imprisonment & a Lengthy Licence Disqualification

If your e-scooter has been classed as a ‘motor vehicle’ and you have driven under the influence of liquor or a drug, you can set to face some costly consequences.


Depending on the blood/breath alcohol concentration (BAC) (or how much liquor you consumed) and if this is your first offence, the maximum penalty could be: • $3,859 fine (qld.gov.au); • maximum 9 months’ imprisonment; and - a maximum 24 months licence disqualification (depending on your traffic history).


Irrespective of whether an e-Scooter is considered a motor vehicle or not, a separate drink driving charge can be imposed by the Police.


Outlined by s 79(1) of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995:

(7) Offence of driving etc. animals and other things while under the influence Any person who, while under the influence of liquor or a drug, drives or is in charge of any horse or other animal on a road, or drives or is in charge of any vehicle (other than a motor vehicle) on a road, or attempts to put in motion any vehicle (other than a motor vehicle) on a road, is guilty of an offence.


This subsection allows Police to place a charge of drink driving irrespective of whether an e-Scooter is considered a motor vehicle.


There is no minimum licence disqualification attached to a charge under this section, however a Magistrate still holds the power to issue a disqualification if they deem appropriate.


No one’s ever ‘ready’ to face the courts on their own.

No one’s ever ‘ready’ to face the courts on their own. No matter where you are in life, whether you know the Queensland courts or not, facing a charge alone or with improper legal representation is never advised.


Please, if you have been charged with a drink driving or related offence, we urge you to seek guidance from our professional and results-driven team of legal experts. We do what other lawyers do not; getting you the results you need, treating you like one of our own, and allowing you to rest easy while we fight for you, no matter the case.


Contact Creevey Russell, Brisbane, Roma and Toowoomba Today

Visit https://www.creeveyrussell.com.au/contact-us or call direct on 07 3009 655 today.


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