E- Scooters are a fun ride but there are potholes you need to watch out for
E-scooters were introduced into Australia in 2018 as a greener form of transport and a solution to congested roads. But with their introduction, Australian hospitals around the country reported daily rider and pedestrian e-scooter-related presentations.
Just in Brisbane alone over an 18-month period, three major hospital Emergency Departments reported a total of 621 people went to the hospital after being injured on e-scooters that had been hired, according to ABC News.
54% of those presenting with injuries were not wearing helmets.
Serious questions are being asked about safety, liability and how e-scooters can effectively and safely coexist with other road users.
To address some of the more pressing matters, Brisbane city implemented new e-scooter restrictions to, hopefully, reduce injuries across the city.
This trial lowered the speed limit to 15 kph and locked shared e-scooters from midnight to 5 AM on weekends in the CBD area and Fortitude Valley. No more intoxicated rides home!
Our top tips for e-scooter safety
To improve your safety, here’s what you need to know before taking an e-scooter for a ride.
- Ride in a safe and respectful manner, especially around pedestrians
- You need to be 16 years of age, or 12 with adult supervision
- Wear an approved bicycle helmet
- Do not carry passengers
- Do not use a mobile device
- Do not drink and ride
- Have a working flashing or steady white light on the front, and a red light and reflector at the rear when traveling at night or in hazardous conditions
- When riding on a path keep left and give way to pedestrians
- Travel at a safe speed that allows you to stop to avoid colliding with pedestrian, cars, etc
- Keep left of oncoming bicycles and other personal mobility devices
- Only use the bicycle side of a shared path.
What happens if you are involved in an accident? Who is liable?
If you crash due to your own misuse or disregard of the rules, you are personally responsible for your injuries or those you cause to others.
E-scooter riders will not necessarily be covered by any insurance where they cause a collision to themselves or others.
This is where it is important to check the scooter hire company contract to ensure it covers personal liability if you should cause a collision inadvertently or through an error of judgement and cause injury to a third party.
If you’ve crashed and been injured due to uneven pavement or damaged road, the local council may be liable.
Pedestrians who are injured by an e-scooter rider are in a tricky situation.
They would have to sue the rider directly. But there are all sorts of difficulties in this situation.
Getting the personal details of the rider could be challenging, the rider may be unable to pay compensation and they may be unwilling to assist in any way.
Things to know
E-scooters are a fun and effective way to get around. But they are subject to road and bike rules.
It’s important to know the rules and your rights and responsibilities when riding an e-scooter, to provide that little extra safety for you as the rider, and others you may impact.
There are consequences when you get it wrong.
These may be significant and serious both physically and financially if you or someone else is injured.
If you have any questions about e-scooter liability, then contact the team here and we’ll do our best to assist.
This article is intended to provide general information in summary form on legal topics, current at the time of publication, for general informational purposes only. The material may not apply to all jurisdictions. The contents do not constitute legal advice, are not intended to be a substitute for legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. You should seek legal advice or other professional advice in relation to any particular matters you or your organisation may have.