By Samuel Smith
Published: Wednesday, June 19, 2019
With new e-scooter brands zipping through Adelaide’s city streets, we answer some common questions to ensure your ride is as smooth as possible.
Currently you’ll find 2 brands coasting around Adelaide: Singapore-based Beam e-scooters and Melbourne-based RIDE e-scooters. Both brands kicked off a 6-month permit on 15 April and are here until mid-October.
On the streets, they’re easy to tell apart. Beams are bright purple and RIDEs are fluorescent yellow. Though there are slight differences in pricing and app function, the handling and operation of both brands are very similar.
To make sure you get most out of your e-scooter experience, we’ve answered 6 common questions.
1.) How do I unlock and pay for an e-scooter?
Scooters can be found and unlocked through each company’s smartphone app. Before you hop on, you’ll need to confirm that you’re 18 years or older (RIDE also requires photo ID). You’ll then need to agree to terms and conditions and enter your credit card details.
Both companies charge an unlocking fee, and from there it’s a pay-per-minute model – RIDE costs 25 cents, while Beam costs 30 cents. Conveniently, both companies have a pre-pay option.
2.) What if there’s no helmet with the scooter?
If you find an e-scooter in the street without a helmet, don’t ride it – you could be up for a $104 fine, plus a $60 Victims of Crime Levy. You need to wear a supplied helmet, or bring your own.
3.) How do I ride an e-scooter?
Paying is one thing, but riding’s another. Before you start your journey, strap on your helmet (remember that it’s an offence to ride without one).
Next, step on the board, kick off and press the throttle on your handlebars.
The e-scooters have a maximum speed of 15km/h. To stop, simply squeeze the handbrake on your handlebars.
Note: Brake and throttle positions may differ slightly between e-scooters. Before you kick off, make sure you know where both are located, and remember only one person is permitted to ride at a time.
4.) Where can I ride?
Both Beam and RIDE e-scooters can only operate in Adelaide’s CBD, bound by West Tce, North Tce, River Torrens, East Tce and South Tce. If you try to sneak your scooter past these boundaries, it’ll slow to a stop.
Restrictions apply to Rundle Mall at all times and Hindley St on Friday and Saturday nights between 6pm and 6am.
While you’re scooting around, stick to footpaths and shared paths only. Fines for riding on the road range from $57 to $379, plus a $60 Victims of Crime Levy.
Remember, normal road rules (in particular, Regulation 30A of the Road Rules – Ancillary and Miscellaneous Provisions Regulations, directed at riders of electric personal transporters) apply at all times when e-scooting.
5.) Where should I leave my e-scooter when I’m finished riding?
E-scooters can only be parked within the geo-fenced CBD trial area. Always try and park in a visible, public place, away from busy roads or footpaths. Try to think of places where the e-scooter will be visible for future riders, and don’t obstruct busy walkways.
6.) Can I drink and scoot?
The short answer is no. If you’re breath-tested and found to have a blood alcohol concentration level over 0.05 while riding an e-scooter, you’ll be hit with a hefty fine and you could lose your licence. Penalties also apply for operating an e-scooter under the influence of an illicit substance.
The final word
According to RAA Future Mobility Expert Mark Borlace e-scooters have the potential to become a vital part of South Australia’s public transport system beyond the current 6-month trial period.
“I can see in the future e-scooters becoming an important part of multi-modal transport in South Australia, providing that people follow the road rules and use common sense,” he says.
“People need to be very aware that normal road rules still apply.”
Note: Fines mentioned in this article are expected to increase slightly on 01/07/2019.