With many cities around Australia now having electric scooter rental programs, for some people this may provide a temptation to ditch the car, hire a scooter, and have a few drinks without having to worry about getting caught by drug and alcohol testing. However, this isn’t the case.
In most states and territories in Australia, police have the right to stop you while riding an electric scooter and test you for both alcohol and drugs.
- In Victoria, e-scooter users mustn’t operate their scooter under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In the case of alcohol, users must be below 0.05.
- In the Northern Territory, scooter users must not have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05 or more.
- In Tasmania, users must not ride under the influence of alcohol or any other substance.
While the laws may differ somewhat from state to state, and territory to territory, generally they’re the same as for driving a vehicle. The consequences are also similar.
For example, in Victoria, if you do fail drug and alcohol testing while riding an e-scooter, heavy fines and penalties apply. If you are found to be under the influence while riding an e-scooter, you’ll likely be fined and have your driver’s license or learner permit suspended. If you don’t have a driver’s license, you can be disqualified from obtaining a license for a period. You may also need to complete a behaviour change program and have your vehicle fitted with an alcohol interlock.
Being caught by drug and alcohol testing isn’t your only concern when riding an e-scooter. Like when driving a car, you can be caught by laws such as speeding, using a mobile phone and failing to obey traffic lights. Just like in a car, it is also an offence to consume alcohol while operating an e-scooter.
Drug and alcohol testing doesn’t just affect e-scooters
These laws apply because when you use an e-scooter, you’re effectively using a vehicle on a public road. And if you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs, your ability to use the e-scooter safely will be affected. You’ll be a danger to yourself and other road users.
Lawmakers aren’t deliberately targeting e-scooter riders with these rules and consequences. The same laws apply to other vehicles, such as bikes. In most states and territories, you can also be caught by drug and alcohol testing while riding a bicycle.
Interestingly, in Victoria, the rules for bicycles also apply for other ‘carriages’ such as horses, cattle and steam engines. We’re pretty sure the rules aren’t applied too often for these modes of transport, but you’d better take care next time you saddle up your steed or ride your cow to the shops!
If you think you’re safe from drug and alcohol testing while riding your e-scooter, think again. Generally, the same rules apply for e-scooter riders as it does for motor vehicle operators. Credit JavyGo https://unsplash.com/photos/7f6dk5M2XMs