The Australian Road Rules dictionary defines wheeled vehicles, both powered and unpowered. People riding wheeled recreation vehicles (skateboards, roller skates, roller blades and scooters) are considered pedestrians. Cyclists are subject to the road rules and are liable to penalties for failure to obey traffic lights and stop and give way signs. Minimum equipment for bicycles are a brake, warning device or bell and lights for night riding. Helmets are compulsory. Scooter riders must wear helmets if travelling on the road. Cyclists must not ride more than two abreast on the road. Scooter riders must wear helmets if travelling on the road. Skateboarding is forbidden in some areas of the City of Melbourne but encouraged in others. Car occupants commit an offence if they open a door and a cyclist rides into it, known as dooring. Bicycle storage boxes at intersections are explained, along with the new rules relating to them.

Contributors

Glenn Osboldstone

Principal Legislation Officer, Environment Protection Authority Victoria

Dru Marsh

Manager of Internal Review, Environment Protection Authority Victoria

Road law for skaters

Last updated

1 July 2020

General

Skateboards, scooters, and in-line and other roller­skates are all included in the definition of a ‘wheeled recreation device’ (see ‘Wheeled recreation devices’, above). 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).

There is a section (RR 240–244B) in the Road Rules specifically for wheeled recreational devices.

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 RR 240 and 241 includes the ‘shoulder’ of the road. RR 12(3) defines the ‘shoulder’ of the road as:

an area (not being part of the road) adjoining the road that is open to or used by the public for driving, riding or parking motor vehicles and to which no parking control sign applies.

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’), RR 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’; these 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), 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 at www.melbourne.vic.gov.au (search for ‘prescription 12’).

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