$50K income loss after horror e-scooter fall

THE rate of horror injuries caused by Lime Scooter accidents could be almost 30 times higher than originally believed, according to shocking new research.

The stunning revelation has led one leading lawyer to suggest the State Government should not be allowing Lime to skip registration and Compulsory Third Party insurance.

Lime has revealed about 1.8 million trips on its e-scooters were completed in Brisbane from November 2018 to October 2019, with one researcher calculating there had been 447 emergency department presentations due to Lime-related injuries during that time.

That equated to 27 emergency department presentations per 100,000 trips. In comparison, Lime estimated one injury per 100,000 trips in its New Zealand market.

"If someone crunched the numbers on the cost of these injuries to the public health system, perhaps the State Government would be thinking twice about allowing e-scooter companies to skip registration and therefore Compulsory Third Party insurance, and would instead make sure e-scooter businesses obtain public liability insurance that covers both the rider and footpath users," Lawyer Travis Schultz, of Schultz Legal, told The Courier-Mail.

"If a motor vehicle company underestimated its safety credentials by 27 times, there would be colossal community outrage from both regulators and consumers alike."

Queensland is the only state that allows e-scooter users to travel faster than 10km/h. Picture: AAP/David Clark
Queensland is the only state that allows e-scooter users to travel faster than 10km/h. Picture: AAP/David Clark

Electric scooters, like bicycles, are not required to be registered. There are rules governing their safe use including the use of helmets and speed limits, a state government spokesman said.

The research was presented by Associate Professor Kirsten Vallmuur at the Australasian Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion Conference last month.

But Mitchell Price, Lime regional director of government relations said Lime's priority was "always safety".

"We take incidents involving scooters very seriously, but these numbers should be viewed in context of alarming numbers of cycling injuries and the tragically high road toll," he said.

Queensland is the only state or territory in Australia where an electronic scooter above 200 watts can be ridden on footpaths and is the only state where riders can travel faster than 10km/h.

Contracts with Brisbane City Council require e-scooter operators to have a public liability insurance policy.

Deputy Mayor Krista Adams said the State Government was responsible for regulating the use of both private and commercial e-scooters, including driver behaviour, speed limits and helmet-use.

"Council takes the safety of Brisbane residents and visitors very seriously and wants the State Government to review the current speed limit," she said.

Moranbah mum Hayley Adamson, 29, was left with a fractured jaw, 12 cracked teeth and eight stitches in her chin after she says her Lime Scooter malfunctioned while she was riding it in Brisbane. Picture: Supplied
Moranbah mum Hayley Adamson, 29, was left with a fractured jaw, 12 cracked teeth and eight stitches in her chin after she says her Lime Scooter malfunctioned while she was riding it in Brisbane. Picture: Supplied

Moranbah mum Hayley Adamson, 29, was left with a fractured jaw, 12 cracked teeth and eight stitches in her chin after her lime scooter malfunctioned while she was riding it in Brisbane.

"The front wheel locked up and just threw me over the handlebars," she said.

"My whole bodyweight basically landed on my bottom jaw. It was horrendous, I passed out for a few minutes and when I came-to my shirt was covered in blood."

The accident happened in March but Ms Adamson said she is still dealing with her injuries nine months later.

In February she will undergo surgery to have seven teeth pulled out and five implants put in. "We are hoping that by June, this will all be over, but by then we will have spent $50,000 on my teeth," she said.

Hayley Adamson must undergo more dental surgery in February, following her Lime Scooter fall Picture: Supplied
Hayley Adamson must undergo more dental surgery in February, following her Lime Scooter fall Picture: Supplied

Ms Adamson said the injuries had been a huge strain on her young family.

"My partner and I are engaged and we wanted to get married sometime in the next few years but that's now been put on hold," she said.

"We'd planned on buying a house sometime this year but now that hasn't happened. It has derailed our life plan."

Ms Adamson said she was shocked e-scooters remained in use even after a string of malfunctions and injuries.

"It makes me so angry because they are aware of what's been happening," she said.

Dylan Pires in hospital after his fall from a Lime Scooter. Picture: Supplied
Dylan Pires in hospital after his fall from a Lime Scooter. Picture: Supplied

Dylan Pires is another e-scooter user who says he was forced to pursue legal help to claim loss of income as a result of his injuries.

Mr Pires, from Brisbane's north, suffered a fractured jaw, broken nose and several other facial injuries when he fell from what he said was a faulty Lime scooter in Teneriffe in April.

"It was only about a week after they claimed to have fixed the fault that I was flipped over the scooter because of the brakes," he said.

Mr Pires said Lime offered him about $5000 to assist in medical fees, which came with the agreement he would not pursue the company for any extra money.

"It was only three days after my accident that they offered that to me, but being so soon after the fall I didn't know what impact it was going to have on me long term so I didn't take it," he said.

"My medical fees were around $10,000 total, but really the worst part was loss of income, which I'm currently trying to get back through lawyers."

As the owner of food truck business King of Wings, Mr Pires said his injuries left him unable to drive the truck for months, resulting in a loss of tens of thousands of dollars.

"It would be around $40,000 to $50,000 loss of income, because I'm the only one licensed to drive one of the trucks that tows a caravan," he said.

Dylan Pires would like to see compulsory insurance introduced for Lime Scooter users. Picture: Annette Dew
Dylan Pires would like to see compulsory insurance introduced for Lime Scooter users. Picture: Annette Dew

Mr Pires said he believed that Lime should have compulsory insurance to guarantee the safety of all e-scooter users.

Shine Lawyers Solicitor Sarah Grace said injury statistics were concerning.

"These figures are shocking and need to be taken very seriously," she said.

"We are certainly seeing an increase in inquiries from riders who have been left with fractured bones and dental injuries."

"There still seems to be a lack of available helmets, people are riding two at a time, they are travelling at excessive speeds and are riding intoxicated."

Ms Grace said the holiday period would likely see a lot of people using e-scooters.

"It is likely that partygoers may choose to use a Lime Scooter as transport to or from a function," she said.

"I can't stress enough how important it is to take extra care. I have seen first-hand what happens when these scooters glitch or are ridden dangerously and the injuries are devastating."