Electric scooters on footpaths

Mathew Warder made this Official Information request to New Zealand Transport Agency

The request was successful.

From: Mathew Warder

Dear New Zealand Transport Agency,

What restrictions are there on use of scooters on footpaths which are electric as well as foot assist in Auckland ?

I have read the the following https://nzta.govt.nz/vehicles/vehicle-ty...

Would this come under power-assisted as long as the auxiliary electric motor has a maximum power not exceeding 300W

Yours faithfully,

Mathew warder

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From: NZ Transport Agency
New Zealand Transport Agency

Hello Mathew

Thank you for your email about using scooters on a footpath.

In the first instance, we would suggest contacting Auckland Transport in
relation to their bi-laws related to using a low or unpowered recreational
device on the footpath.

In relation to motor vehicle clarification, there are requirements on
where and how you can use an unpowered scooter and these include:

• On the road, you must keep as close as possible to the edge of the
• On the footpath:
       you must ride carefully and be considerate of others on the
       you must not ride at speeds that put other footpath users at risk
       you must give way to pedestrians and drivers of mobility

As you may be aware, more information can be found via:

In relation to electric scooters, there are only a small number of
low-powered vehicles that have been declared as not being motor vehicles
and these are mobility devices, power-assisted cycles and Yike Bikes. As
an electric scooter is not defined as a cycle (even if its maximum power
does not exceed 300 watts), it has not been declared as being a non-motor

This means that an electric scooter would be considered to be a motor
vehicle and would need to be registered. However, as it would not be able
to meet any of the standards it would not be able to be registered as a
moped. In addition, as it is considered a motor vehicle it cannot be
driven on a footpath in accordance with Section 2.13 of the Land Transport
(Road User) Rule 2004 which can be found via:

Any vehicle meeting the definition of motor vehicle requires registration,
inspection and a driver licence applicable for the vehicle type.

Most two-wheel electric scooters and two-wheel low-powered vehicles are
mopeds and the relevant laws apply (eg riders must have a class 1 driver
licence and wear a motor cycle helmet, mopeds must be registered and
licensed, mopeds must not be ridden in a cycle lane). For your reference,
vehicle classifications can be found via:

Please note: It would be a significant change in current classification
for further small powered vehicles not to be treated as motor vehicles.
Any change would require considerable investigation and consultation into
the appropriateness of making a change as there are significant possible
risks in these vehicles using and sharing both the footpath and the
roadway. The legislation also requires the Transport Agency to investigate
and make separate determinations for each low-powered vehicle type and
model. At this point of time, until the Transport Agency receive more
information on the impact, both now and in the future, of increasing the
total number of vehicles declared not to be a motor vehicle and what types
of low powered vehicles could appropriately be declared not to be a motor
vehicle, we are unable to assist with individual models.

The following link to the Transport Agency website provides more
information about low-powered vehicles:


Dan Thompson / Senior Customer Access Representative
Customer Service Centre 
NZ Transport Agency
P 0800 822 422 / E [5][email address] / W [6]www.nzta.govt.nz
Private Bag 11777, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand


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Glen Koorey left an annotation ()

Sad to say that the NZTA person who responded to this request was mistaken in saying that e-scooters were motor vehicles; that was never the intent of the 2004 Road User Rule. For a more nuanced answer, have a look at NZTA Research Report 621 on 'Regulations and safety for electric bicycles and other low-powered vehicles' - https://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/resea...

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Rosemary McQueen left an annotation ()

According to Radio NZ National (https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/...) in 2013 NZTA announced "For the avoidance of doubt readers are advised that the district court has held that low-powered electric scooters are not power-assisted cycles but are motor vehicles." So whatever was intended in 2004 appears to have been ruled on (and perhaps over-ruled) by a court some time before 2013.

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Glen Koorey left an annotation ()

The Court case referred to was in relation to a sit-down electric (300W) motor scooter (moped), which the defendant claimed was an electric bicycle. Because it had no functioning pedals, the Court held that it was not a bicycle and therefore was a motor vehicle (ie a moped). This is what they meant by "low-powered scooter"; it had nothing to do with electric kick-scooters that we are talking about now (they were barely even heard of back in 2013).

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Rosemary McQueen left an annotation ()

Mr Koorey,

If e-scooters were "barely even heard of" in 2013, then how come the 2004 Road User Rule signalled any "intent" as to their status? Your reference to a July 2017 document doesn't answer this question. Is there another you can point me to?

And, do you have insight into how a court might rule were a disqualified driver to use an electric scooter in an inebriated state to and from the pub? Especially if he caused an injury? Would a court be unable to take any action after September's "clarification" of their status?

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Rich Seager (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

I'd rather a Tram. And Trams are cheaper.

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Glen Koorey left an annotation ()

Rosemary, the stated objective of the Road User Rule can be found in its Schedule 1 (Section 5 refers to 'wheeled recreational devices', including scooters with/without small motors). Note that the original 200W limit was subsequently changed to 300W - http://www.legislation.govt.nz/regulatio...

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Glen Koorey left an annotation ()

The Court Case BTW was "NZ Police v Bridgman, Blenheim 2010" regarding the use of an electric moped scooter. You'd probably need to look up a legal case-law database for this.

While drink-driving Rules apply only to motor vehicles, 'drivers' of all 'vehicles' are still subject to Rules regarding "careless/reckless use of a vehicle". So it is still possible to charge someone clearly very drunk riding a scooter, bike, etc poorly (typically only looked at if they are involved in a serious crash that was their fault).

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