Thinking about buying your child or teen an electric scooter or some kind of eRideable for Christmas? While it’s sure to be a well-received gift, it’s easy to get confused by the rules surrounding their use, so choosing the most suitable device can be a daunting task.
With the current surge in popularity of electronic scooters, skateboards, unicycles, skates, hoverboards and wheels, there’s also been an increase in eRideable-related accidents, often resulting in injury or sometimes even death. Sadly, a large portion of these casualties are children, with Perth Children’s Hospital recently reporting the number of eRideable crashes involving riders under 16 had doubled each year since 2017.
So, to make it easier to choose the safest gift for your child or teenager, check out Constable Care Foundation’s buying guide below:
Buying for under-16s:
- Make sure the device doesn’t exceed 10kmph or 200w
Children under 16 are only allowed to ride eScooters that don’t exceed 10kmph or 200w. While there are many things to consider when buying for your child, age suitability is the most important thing to take into consideration. To be safe, make sure you check the maximum speed and wattage doesn’t go over these limits.
- Stick to low-powered eScooters only
Children under 16 are not permitted on eRideables on public roads and paths. They are, however, allowed to ride low-powered electric scooters (under 10kmph or 200w), which are not classified as eRideables.
So, best to wait until they are 16 or over to get them that eSkateboard, eUnicycle, eSkates, eWheels, eHoverboard or high-powered eScooter that they’re coveting. While it can be hard when these devices are often marketed towards younger children, they are all considered eRideables for over-16s only.
- Buy a helmet and bell
Most low-powered electric scooters for kids lack bells or lights, so it’s worth at least buying a bell so they can warn others while riding. Be sure to buy them a helmet that fits well and complies with the current Australian Standard too.
Under-16s rules for use:
Low-powered e-scooters for children (under 200w or 10kmph) aren’t actually classified as eRideables and are governed by their own regulations (Road Traffic Code 2000). To stay safe, some of the main things to remember are:
- Stay off the roads:While it is sometimes necessary to cross roads, under 16s should stick to the safer footpaths or shared paths as much as possible. Encourage them to dismount their low-powered eScooter while crossing the road, especially if they are still learning to ride it.
- Wear a helmet: Just like pushbikes, a helmet must be worn at all times while riding an eScooter.
- Keep to the left: Encourage them to keep to the left unless overtaking and ride in single file.
- Mind pedestrians: Make sure they give way to pedestrians and warn them with their bell when approaching.
- No dinking: Carrying more than one rider, aka “dinking”, is not allowed (this includes animals too).
- Hands off your phone: Riders are not permitted to hold a mobile phone in their hand while riding and must have at least one hand on the handlebars at all times.
- No riding after dark: Under 16s are not permitted to ride eScooters after dark.
- Turn eBikes off: Power-assisted pedal cycles or eBikes (which are also not considered reRideables) aren’t permitted to be ridden with the power engaged on public roads or paths by under 16s either.
Buying for Over-16s:
- Make sure the eRideable’s speed can’t exceed 25kmph
Once family members reach 16, they are allowed to ride eRideables on public roads where speed limits are 50kmph or under. eRideables are not allowed to exceed 25kmph on public roads. To be safe, make sure the device can’t go over this speed when choosing an eRideable for your teenager, or even yourself.
- Stick to eRideable specifications
Any electronic scooter, skateboard, unicycle, skates, hoverboard, wheel or other rideable electronic device that can’t go faster than 25kmph and weighs less than 25kg is considered an eRideable. It also can’t be more than 125cm long, 70cm wide and 135cm high. If the device falls outside these specifications, it may not be ridden on WA roads and paths.
- Buy a helmet and check for a horn and lights
Any approved bicycle, skateboard or motorcycle helmet can be worn when riding an eRideable. Just make sure it fits your teen well and complies with the current Australian Standard. Also check the device has lights and reflectors for riding at night. If it has handles, it needs to have a working horn or bell. If any of these important safety items are missing, you can buy them separately to attach to the device.
Over-16s rules for use:
Check out our handy fact sheet with eRideable rules for use in WA here