Road Rules relating to skaters
The Road Rules relating to pedestrians are set out in Part 14 of the Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic) (‘Road Safety Act‘); included within that part are specific divisions relating to persons travelling in or on wheeled recreational devices and wheeled toys (Division 2) and on electric personal transporters (Division 3). There is a section (RR 240–244B) specifically for wheeled recreational devices.
Skateboards, scooters, and in-line and other rollerskates are all included in the definition of a ‘wheeled recreation device’. Users of these items (generally termed ‘skaters’ in this section) are usually considered to be pedestrians and not riders or drivers. Accordingly, the majority of the Road Rules already discussed in this chapter do not apply. For example, there is no requirement for skaters to wear protective headgear.
However, when it comes to riding scooters on a road or road-related area, scooter riders must wear protective helmets, unless they have a VicRoads certificate. The scooter must also have a brake, warning device and, when travelling at night or in hazardous weather conditions, front and rear lights and a reflector the same as on bicycles (RR 244B(4), (5); maximum penalty: 5 pu).
For the financial year 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022, the value of one penalty unit (pu) is $181.74. For more information about penalty units, see the Department of Justice’s website.
Wheeled recreational devices (e.g. skateboards) must not be used on the following kinds of roads:
- roads with a dividing line or median strip;
- roads that have a speed limit greater than 50 kilometres per hour;
- one-way roads with more than one marked lane (RR 240(1); maximum penalty: 2 pu).
The exception is where a skater is crossing the road (RR 240(3)).
On other types of road, a skater must keep as close to the left side as practicable and must not travel more than two abreast with other pedestrians or vehicles, unless overtaking (RR 241; maximum penalty: 2 pu).
Also, wheeled recreational devices must not be used on a road at night (RR 240(2); maximum penalty: 2 pu).
‘Road’ in Road Rules 240 and 241 includes the ‘shoulder’ (for the definition of ‘shoulder’, see ‘Roads and road-related areas: Definitions’ in ‘Who and what do the Road Rules cover?’ in ‘Road Rules and Regulations‘).
When travelling on a footpath or shared path, a skater must keep as far left as practicable and give way to pedestrians (‘pedestrian’ here does not include other skaters, people on segways or children on ‘wheeled toys’) (RR 242(1); maximum penalty: 2 pu).
For a skater using a bicycle path or a separated footpath (defined above in ‘Riding on paths and bicycle lanes’), Road Rule 243(1) says that a skater must not be on that part of the path designated for pedestrians unless the skater is crossing the path by the shortest, safe route and does not stay on the path for longer than necessary to cross safely (maximum penalty: 2 pu). Skaters must also keep out of the way of bicycles (RR 243(2); maximum penalty: 2 pu).
Finally, skaters, like cyclists, are prohibited from being towed by a moving vehicle, holding onto a moving vehicle, or travelling within two metres of the rear of a moving motor vehicle continuously for more than 200 metres (RR 244; maximum penalty: 2 pu).
There are many other prohibitions in the Road Rules that also apply to skaters, because they fall within the definition of ‘pedestrians’.
Prohibitions relating to skaters include:
- failing to obey traffic signals (RR 231, 232; maximum penalty: 2 pu);
- failing to cross a road, railway line or tram tracks by the shortest and safest route (RR 230, 233, 234, 235, 235A; maximum penalty: 2 pu);
- causing a traffic hazard by moving into the path of a driver (RR 236(1), (2); maximum penalty: 1 pu).
Skating in Melbourne
Under the Activities Local Law 2019, the City of Melbourne prohibits the use of ‘toy vehicles’ in certain areas.
Clause 1.11 defines a ‘toy vehicle’ as:
equipment designed to be propelled by human power and includes a skateboard, scooter, rollerskates and in-line skates, but does not include a bicycle.
The areas are Burston Reserve (opposite Parliament House), outside the State Library, the Hub @ Docklands (Collins Street, Waterfall Walk and Harbour Esplanade), and Lincoln Square in Carlton.
Specifically, clause 2 prescribes that:
The riding of toy vehicles is prohibited throughout the whole of each year in those parts of the municipality within the bold lines on the attached map and, in the cases of Lincoln Square and the State Library, identified as Paved Area.
Maps showing the areas where ‘toy vehicles’ are prohibited are available from the council’s website (search for ‘prescription 12’).