Skateboard riders are considered pedestrians under the Road Rules and are not required to wear helmets. Scooter riders must wear helmets if travelling on the road. Skateboards must not be towed. Skateboarding is forbidden in some areas of the City of Melbourne but encouraged in others.
Skateboards, scooters, and in-line and other rollerskates are all included in the definition of a “wheeled recreation device” (see information about wheeled recreation devices in “Who and what do the Road Rules cover?”). Users of these items (generally termed “skaters” in this section) are 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 (div 2 pt 14 RR 240–244B) in the Road Rules specifically for wheeled recreational devices.
Wheeled recreational devices must not be used:
•on roads with a dividing line or median strip;
•on roads that have a speed limit greater than 50 km/h;
•on 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)). Also, wheeled recreational devices must not be used on a road at night (RR 240(2); maximum penalty: 2 pu).
On other types of road, a skater must keep as close to the left-hand side as practicable and must not travel more than two abreast with other pedestrians or vehicles, unless overtaking (RR 241; 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 or children on “wheeled toys”) (RR 242(1); maximum penalty: 2 pu).
For a skater using a bicycle path or a separated footpath (defined 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, a skater is 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 contained 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).
Skaters who enjoy a zip around Melbourne should bear in mind the following information.
The City of Melbourne (which includes parts of Carlton, Parkville, West Melbourne, North Melbourne, Kensington, East Melbourne, South Yarra and South Bank) regulates the use of “toy vehicles” in its Activities Local Law 2009. A “toy vehicle” is defined as equipment designed to be propelled by human power and includes skateboards, scooters, rollerskates and in-line skates (clause 1.11). Clause 2.3(a) states that “[a] person must not use, or allow to be used, a toy vehicle so as to endanger, intimidate or unduly obstruct or hinder any other person or vehicle lawfully using or intending to use the same area”. Paragraph (b) of that clause prohibits the riding of skateboards, etc., in prescribed areas.
Maps showing the prescribed areas where the riding of skateboards, etc. is prohibited or restricted are available from the front desk at the Melbourne Town Hall and from the council’s website at www.melbourne.vic.gov.au (search for prescription 91).