Based on eyewitnesses’ reports, the culprit stands guilty, badgered, and declared so ab initio -- even without a trial. The defendant in this instance is the rugged and tough-looking, yet defenseless subject of contention: the electric scooter.
For starters, electric scooters are neither fads nor toys for the brawny boys.
As more and more cities in Australia exert efforts to legalize and put into operation shared electric scooter schemes, the e-scooter has exponentially grown in popularity, with sales skyrocketing in the global market. By the end of the year, electric scooters are projected to reach half a billion rides globally. The reason is simple -- many commuters are opting to ride e-scooters as an accessible, convenient, and affordable solution to their transport woes.
Unfortunately, safety issues have also risen. Reports culled from many parts of the world where e-scooters are sold bared the mounting frequency of e-scooter accidents. This is where the rubber meets the road. Naivete and preconceived notions negate the positive impact that electric scooters have brought to society.
Convenience versus safety is being questioned. The very perception that electric scooters are not safe has legislators conjuring up laws, regulations, and limitations as legal measures to lessen the risks to the life of both the riders and the pedestrians -- short of already branding e-scooters as dangerous.
This long drawn-out battle on advantages over disadvantages has made many electric scooter owners exasperated and frustrated. Dangerous, they say? What about cars? Motorcycles? E-bikes? Hovercrafts, and other motorized devices?
This highly disputable topic deserves to have its share in the limelight to get clarity. But more than clarification, the general public needs to know how prejudiced those misinformed perceptions are.
Prof. Narelle Haworth from the Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety – Queensland expounded on the initial data from Australia and New Zealand. She revealed that probable causes of injuries or accidents were due to inexperienced riders, uncapped speeds, helmet unavailability, braking problems, and smaller wheels of the early shared e-scooters. She added that “We don’t seem to be getting many pedestrians hit. Realistically, most of the danger of e-scooters so far, in Brisbane, is to the riders themselves.”
Around 30 people in United States have died riding e-scooters since 2018. 80 percent of these deaths were due to car collisions. E-scooter collisions with cars have risen sharply from four in 2018 to 32 in 2019 in London. Police reported that 18 percent of e-scooter accidents were due to drunk riders in Germany. It’s also worth noting that accidents due to drunk e-scooter riders are higher than the accidents caused by drunk car drivers.
Zeroing in on Australia, several e-scooter accidents and deaths were reported in recent years. A man riding an e-scooter was killed during a collision in Brisbane’s central business district a few months ago. According to the report, the man in his 50s lost control of his e-scooter and crashed into a pole. The paramedics who arrived on the scene were unable to revive the man.
Aside from these accidents, e-scooters and e-scooter riders also get complaints from pedestrians. The complaints were about loud, inconsiderate riders and sloppy parking practices. Due to the presentation of these various risks, accidents, and complaints, electric scooters were perceived as a danger and can cause harm to riders and pedestrians. As well as a nuisance due to the careless practices of some e-scooter riders.
The alleged cause of reported accident problems lies with the e-scooters. In truth, the main causes of e-scooter accidents are rider intoxication, not properly using cycle lanes, or riding on footpaths. Riders not traveling on the correct paths or roads is another major cause of accidents. Therefore, the accidents that happened were caused by e-scooter riders that were not following road rules. Moreover, almost half of the e-scooter accidents only involved the rider.
Statatistics revealed that riding e-scooters is safer than riding bicycles
Despite the reported accidents and calls for banning e-scooters, Research has also proven that e-scooters are less dangerous than you think. Moreover, compared to bicycle accidents, e-scooters pose fewer risks. Statistics showed that riding e-scooters is safer than riding bicycles.
The overwhelming and undeniable conclusion why accidents occur is due to irresponsible riding practices by the riders themselves, and NOT the inorganic e-scooters. All e-scooters can sometimes malfunction and cause accidents but hardly ever the major cause of accidents.
Constant e-scooter education, and proper compliance, with the public en masse are crucial and necessary to provide riders and pedestrians with a safe riding environment.
There is no hard and fast rule on riding e-scooter safely. Just remember that the safest electric scooter is one that is in top condition, and that the rider must be responsible. Below are commonsense tips to remind all to ride safely and conscientiously, whether it’s riding in public or on private property.
*Check out more of Mearth’s blogs for more electric scooter guides and tips.