Trials of motorised foot scooters – e-scooters – are currently underway in Brisbane, Adelaide and parts of Victoria. City councils are conducting these trials in conjunction with licensed e-scooter hire companies. E-scooters are powered by electric motors, and appear to be favourably received by riders in these cities.
Councils in Sydney and Western Australia are also planning to implement public trials with e-scooter hire companies in the near future.
E-scooters are marketed as an efficient and environmentally-friendly means of transport for short journeys. They offer utility in terms of mobility, fuel-cost savings over cars, time efficiencies for day-to-day activities, and a fun recreational activity.
Recent US experience, where e-scooters have been released into communities en-masse, has been met with a mixed reception by communities and regulators. Some cities have banned the use of e-scooters due to safety and public nuisance issues.
Also, lawsuits are mounting throughout the USA for personal injuries, public nuisance, product liability and negligence claims. Some early and limited clinical research from various US emergency rooms indicates that the incidence of e-scooter related injuries is similar to bicycle injuries. E-scooter accidents imperil riders, pedestrians and motor vehicle drivers. Injuries can range from grazes, bruising, minor fractures, to debilitating incapacity and sadly, even death.
Current e-scooter trials in Brisbane and Adelaide are demonstrating that danger lurks in many places and unexpected encounters. Here also, e-scooter riders, pedestrians and even other road users are suffering debilitating physical injuries and economic losses as a result of e-scooter related accidents.
Injury and losses are being caused by many factors including:
· Road hazards poorly maintained riding surfaces and chaotic environments (such as around construction sites);
· Panic stopping attempts by riders;
· Not wearing safety equipment;
· Poor visibility, insufficient traffic management or signage;
· Reckless behaviour of riders, other road users and pedestrians;
· Poorly maintained or faulty e-scooters;
These factors raise many important questions for the public at large, including:
· Where do you turn for relief if you are injured as an e-scooter rider in an accident?
· What if you suffer injuries and you lose your capacity for work and incur burdensome medical treatment and rehabilitation expenses?
· Who is liable for injuries that you as a pedestrian, or your loved-ones, suffer as a result of an e-scooter rider colliding with you in a busy pedestrian zone?
· Where do you turn for relief if you are injured in a “scoot and run” scenario?
· What if you are driving your motor vehicle and swerve to avoid a panicked e-scooter rider careening out of control in front of your vehicle? You may have successfully managed to avoid hitting them, but are injured as a result of colliding with other vehicles -what then?
· What recourse is available to you if the e-scooter you were riding suddenly loses a wheel, or the brakes fail and you are injured and cannot work as a result for extended periods of time?
· What do you do if you are riding an e-scooter in a designated area and sustain injuries and economic losses as a result of poorly maintained surfaces or as a result of encountering chaotic riding environments that weren’t supervised or controlled appropriately?
· Are E-scooter hire companies attempting to minimise their liability with unfair contractual clauses in their hire agreements?
· How do you, or your loved ones recover losses?
These are just a sample of pressing issues for e-scooter riders, pedestrians and motor vehicle drivers alike. Answers to the above questions are not always straightforward, particularly in these early e-scooter trials in Australia.
Gajic Lawyers is a specialised personal injury law firm, operating Australia-wide. We understand the nuances of complex personal injury claims arising from e-scooter injuries.
If you have been injured in an e-scooter accident in Brisbane or Adelaide (either as a rider, a motor vehicle driver or member of the public) , our lawyers can cut through the often confusing issues related to your e-scooter personal injury entitlements.
For your peace of mind, we undertake to do so on a no-win, no-fee basis.