14 May 2019

Time to Put the Brakes on Lime Scooters

Trent Johnson
Trent Johnson

The first death linked to the use of Lime scooters in Brisbane coupled with soaring injuries among riders has confirmed the need for an urgent re-think on their use.

That’s the view of Brisbane compensation law specialist Trent Johnson who says reports that 80 Lime scooter riders have been injured in the past two months, and now a man has died after a late night fall, paint an alarming picture of the scooter company’s operations in Brisbane.

He says there’s been a lack of transparency about Lime scooters and how they seemed to be rushed into Brisbane with little forward planning.

Mr Johnson, a Director with Brisbane law firm Bennett & Philp Lawyers, says questions should be asked on why the scooter involved in a 50-year-old man’s fatality was on the road at that time of night when it should have been collected for charging.

Why are they still being put back on the street each morning without each having a helmet when it is against the law to ride without one? There are reports some of the helmets have vanished.”

“Why is there no requirement (such as in Singapore) to upload a photo proving they have been parked safely at the end of a hire?”

The rental scooter operation raised many other questions such as would Lime provide details identifying a rider for any hit and run incident, how much money Lime paid to the Brisbane City Council for the scooter trial and why does Lime not hold public liability cover for the rider?

Paramedics have treated at least 80 people in the past two months for injuries sustained while riding Lime scooters in the city, an average of more than one incident per day.

While there have been claims of a scooter design flaw, the Queensland Ambulance Service thinks it’s more a case of riders not being aware of the dangers of using the electric scooters.

Queensland Ambulance Service clinical director Tony Hucker was reported as saying Lime scooters have really small wheels and are prone to catching in divots and holes in the road, so there’s probably a higher risk, especially at night.

Of the 80 Lime scooter riders injured in the past two months, 12 have required surgery. In March Bennett & Philp Director and compensation law specialist Mark O’Connor said Lime Scooters should be held liable for the hospital costs of users injured due to any faults with their scooters.

He says Lime, rather than Queensland taxpayers, should have to pay the hospital costs of those injured while riding the scooters. In March three Brisbane hospitals reported 88 injuries in just two months of scooter use and Lime Scooters had admitted a software glitch which caused the front wheel to lock randomly, had caused injury to several riders.

When the scooters arrived last December Mr Johnson warned that uncontrolled electric powered rental scooters on Brisbane footpaths were a nightmare on wheels and users could be liable if they injured pedestrians with them.

He says there are countless anecdotes now of people almost being run over by a scooter on city streets and many feel they are a nightmare in the crowded CBD area.

Considering the scooters can reach speeds of almost 30km/h the potential for injury is considerable if a person crashes or falls off the scooter. This week’s tragic death of a rider has sadly underscored that fact,” he says.

 

 


Individual liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation (personal injury work exempted).

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