E-Scooter Safety Heightens Concerns Following Fortitude Valley Collision

A woman in her 40s sustained serious injuries after a collision involving her e-scooter and a cement truck at the intersection of Wickham St and Brunswick St in Fortitude Valley. From 38 cases in 2018 to over a thousand cases in 2022 and even more this year based on partial figures for 2023, the rising number of injuries related to e-scooter use have made public safety a critical discussion point.

Emergency services responded to the Fortitude Valley incident swiftly, offering immediate medical attention before transferring the injured woman to the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital. Thankfully, while serious, her injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

This November 22 incident is part of a troubling rise in e-scooter accidents, sparking a deeper examination of their usage and the pressing need for improved safety measures.

Statistics from the Queensland Injury Surveillance Unit paint a concerning picture of the increasing trend in e-scooter-related injuries across Queensland in recent years:

  • 2018 (November to December): 38 cases
  • 2019: 288 cases
  • 2020: 386 cases
  • 2021: 706 cases
  • 2022: 1033 cases
  • 2023 (January to July): 716 cases
E-scooter injury types in a study conducted by Dr Cassandra Peace, Dr Dexter Rubio, and Dr Gary Mitchell
Photo Credit: Herston Health Precinct Symposium 2021 / CLIN-0039

This steady surge has alarmed safety experts and organisations, triggering discussions on crucial measures to enhance e-scooter safety across the region.

One major discussion point concerns the necessity for distinct operating environments that offer separation from faster motor vehicles while ensuring safety for cyclists and pedestrians. Achieving this hinges on determining permissible e-scooter speeds and regulating the speed of motorised vehicles and bicycles in these areas.

In response to mounting concerns, recent discussions on e-scooter scheme regulations consider implementing electronic speed control mechanisms. These mechanisms could enforce lower speeds or lockouts in high-risk zones, especially those with heavy pedestrian activity. 

However, challenges persist concerning privately owned e-scooters, potentially limiting the influence on their usage.

Proposals in the ongoing review by the National Transport Commission advocate for mandatory comprehensive insurance for e-scooters. Additionally, there are calls for installing speedometers on e-scooters, enabling users to adhere to designated speed restrictions.

Efforts are also underway to tackle e-scooter parking issues. Suggestions include technological constraints on parking locations as part of e-scooter scheme permits.

Furthermore, discussions involve penalties, such as confiscating privately owned e-mobility devices, to regulate proper parking practices and reduce obstructions in public spaces.

The focus remains on developing a comprehensive approach encompassing regulatory measures, infrastructure enhancements, and increased user awareness. This incident emphasises the urgent need to address these concerns and implement effective strategies to enhance e-scooter safety across Brisbane and beyond.

Residents of Fortitude Valley are urged to stay informed and engaged in these crucial discussions for a safer environment for all road users.

Published 4-December-2023