E-scooters causing more injuries than motorbikes in New Zealand

E-scooter accidents now cause more injuries in New Zealand than motorbike accidents, the first global study of its kind has discovered


Whilst the huge rise in popularity of e-scooters are inevitably likely to make them prone to an increasing number of accidents, a study in New Zealand has revealed injuries sustained from this mode of transport is now surpassing that of motorbike accidents.

Eco-friendly, convenient and easy to purchase, e-scooters have become a familiar sight in cities as a commuter tool for adults but there remains confusion over their legality or where you are permitted to ride them.

Indeed – much like the growth in the use of drones – it seems the e-scooter popularity surge in the last 18 months has caught regulators unawares, with conflicting feedback on whether they are permitted on the road or pavement, or either.

Now it seems the way e-scooters are regulated could be heading for a tipping point after the New Zealand Medical Journal revealed surgeons are now treating more injuries connected to these vehicles than those sustained in motorbike injuries, a trend that could set a precedent globally.

Trouble is, there is an argument for why e-scooters should not be permitted on pavements weaving between pedestrians, or on the road where they don’t generate enough power or offer enough safety to go next to motorbikes or cars on the road.

In the UK, they are illegal to use on the road AND pavements. They can only be used on private land or property.

“The accessibility of e-scooters and ease of use perhaps belies the potential dangers of using them," the study – which is thought to be the first in the world to focus on the safety of such machines - said.

According to the New Zealand Herald, of 708 acute orthopaedic operations at the hospital, 98 of which related to wheeled vehicles (excluding cars), 23 operations were for e-scooters riders, 34 for bicycles, 20 for motorbikes, 11 for skateboards and 10 for mopeds.

"E-scooters appear to pose an increased risk compared to other wheeled vehicles; likely due in part to the speeds possible and their inherent instability," the study added.

E-scooters can reach 27km/h (16mph) on flat surfaces, but certain countries insists upon speed limits, making them even less appropriate for road use.