2 Nov 2018

Electric scooters cause spike in injuries

2:58 pm on 2 November 2018

There's been a spike in electric scooter-related injuries in Auckland and Christchurch, some of them very serious.

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Lime rolled out 600 e-scooters and 400 in Christchurch as part of a three-month trial in New Zealand. Photo: LimeBike

The scooters only hit the streets of the two cities three weeks ago but the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine says injuries are already piling up.

The top speed for the scooters is 27km/h.

The San Francisco-based company Lime rolled out 600 e-scooters and 400 in Christchurch as part of a three-month trial in New Zealand. But other companies are also eyeing up New Zealand as an e-scooter destination with Wave Scooters launching 500 e-scooters on 29 October and Onzo set to put another 1000 on the streets on 10 November.

All three companies have requested permission to eventually roll out 2500 scooters each, but that has yet to be approved by Auckland Council, which is waiting to see how the trial period goes.

Dr John Bonning from the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine said he had never heard of any other ride sharing service cause such a spike of accidents.

"Broken collarbones, broken kneecaps, a number of concussions, somebody who had a collapsed lung," he said.

"[The number of injuries have increased] just really quite rapidly in terms of two, three, four patients a day at times across a period of a couple of weeks," he said.

Dr Bonning said he himself had witnessed someone using one of the scooters fall off.

The Lime scooter company, councils and the public all needed to do their part to stop the increase of injuries, he said.

"The company needs to have a degree of responsibility in terms of warning people about use of helmets and the dangers of travelling at [about] 25km/h, councils potentially need to be involved to regulate but also, clearly, people need to take some personal responsibility as well," he said.

Auckland Council and Auckland Transport are looking into a review to create better safety regulations for the scooters.

Users are currently able to ride the scooters without helmets but Dr Bonning said that should change.

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