Rise in E-Scooter-Related Injuries Sparks Safety Concerns

E-Scooter-Related Injuries
Photo credit: Silviu on the street/Pixabay

The e-scooter craze has officially taken a dangerous turn, with hospitalisations for e-scooter-related injuries reaching a record high in 2023.

Read: E-Scooter Safety Heightens Concerns Following Fortitude Valley Collision

For the first time ever, the number of people ending up in emergency departments due to e-scooter crashes has surpassed that of cyclists, with over 100 e-scooter riders a month requiring hospital treatment in Queensland.

Police data shows that more than 5,500 infringement notices were handed out to e-scooter riders last year for a range of offences, with some clocked travelling at speeds up to 90 km/h. Drugs and alcohol were contributing factors in a large number of the more serious crashes, including fatalities.

Photo credit: Kristof Topolewski/Pixabay

The Queensland Injury Surveillance Unit, which compiles data from 26 emergency departments across the state, recorded 1,273 e-scooter-related injuries last year – up from 1,033 in 2022. The problem has become particularly pronounced in the Brisbane CBD, where riders are frequently spotted without helmets and even riding three to a single scooter.

Photo credit: Silviu on the street/Pixabay

In a shocking incident in November 2023, a woman was seriously injured after being hit by a cement truck whilst riding an e-scooter on Brunswick Street in Fortitude Valley. Tragically, this was not an isolated event.

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The state’s Transport and Main Roads department is now investigating options to further combat the issue of drink-riding, including potentially enabling police to conduct random breath tests on e-scooter users.

According to Brisbane City Council, since the arrival of e-scooters in the city in November 2018, there have been over 4 million rides taken by 1.4 million users. Whilst the new transport options offer opportunities to reduce reliance on private cars, the safety concerns have been an ongoing source of debate.

Photo credit: Christian Bueltemann/Pixabay

The council says it has introduced a range of safety initiatives, including late-night hiring restrictions, helmet locks, speed limits on shared paths, parking hubs, and geofencing and no-ride zones. However, the sheer number of injuries suggests these measures have not been enough to rein in the growing e-scooter crisis.

Read: Freeman James Henderson Jailed for Causing Grievous Bodily Harm in Bicycle Collision

With no signs of the e-scooter trend slowing down, authorities will need to take urgent and decisive action to address the safety issues before the situation spirals further out of control. The health and wellbeing of riders and other road users must be the top priority as this new transport revolution continues to evolve.

Published 9-April-2024