November is here, a new month and another chance to do better and make things better for the future. Especially making better decisions of wearing the proper gear and approved helmet, and abiding with the rules and regulations put in place when riding an electric scooter. Following the rules can change everything, most of all save lives!
You see, just like anything, to label something as good or bad can be controversial, most of the time it is only wrong when it is abused and used wrongly. Electric scooters are one of them, a micro-mobility device that has so much good potential that can benefit the community. In fact, the benefits are clear: carbon emission reductions, cost of living benefits amid petrol price hikes, and prevention of infrastructure wear. It is also safer than walking home late at night, and commute systems today can be really costly. Riding an e-scooter is also convenient as it is fun. However, if used wrongly, one can end up in the wrong direction so it is important to suit up!
Suit Up! Gear Up!
Just a few months back, a number of electric scooter accidents arose because of the lack of wearing the proper gear helmet and possibly overspeeding. Exactly last September 2022, two Australians lost their lives while riding e-scooters without wearing a helmet or even other important safety gear like elbow and knee pads. These were Moustafa Abou-Eid, 28, who lost control of his e-scooter on a speed hump in Pascoe Vale in Melbourne on 22 September and Laura Wallace, 19, when her e-scooter collided with a car in Canberra on 26 September.
Another man, unnamed at 37, died after losing control of his electric scooter on a Brisbane street just after midnight. According to the Queensland Ambulance Service, two passers-by found the man unconscious, suffered significant head injuries and was declared dead at the scene. It wasn’t mentioned if he was wearing a helmet but the Forensic Crash Unit is investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident.
Many other incidents happened in the months behind, and to this day, the reported e-scooter accidents have doubled in the number of fatalities since 2018. Many of the accidents ended with brain injuries, greatly emphasizing the dire need to ALWAYS WEAR A PROPER HELMET. Many of the unfortunate incidents might have had the chance to avoid the situation with the proper use of electric scooters, especially wearing important safety gear.
True enough, Sarah Whitelaw, the emergency medicine representative of the Australian Medical Association stated, “We need to see a decrease in the number of grieving families.”
It truly is unfortunate to lose anyone. Hopefully, these incidents, though tragic, can be a lesson for people to abide by the rules and wear the proper gear when riding an e-scooter. Whitelaw continues, “Most of us wear bike helmets not because it’s illegal not to, but because we understand why you have to put one of them on. It might save your life.”
Why Rules Are Put in Place
Queensland Ambulance Service clinical director Lachlan Parker agrees that “all riders should at least wear a helmet, preferably elbow and knee pads too, with common e-scooter injuries being facial injuries and broken bones. These electric scooters can be very fast and in the wrong environment where they are not used appropriately, they can be used as a weapon. Under no circumstances should a scooter rider be using the device [especially] if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.”
There is no national database that captures the rates of injuries relating to e-scooters, but data from several jurisdictions shows the most common infringement enforced by police relates to riders not wearing helmets.
Kirsten Vallmuur at the Queensland University of Technology has been researching e-scooter injuries. She explained, “Fractures mainly to the head and the arms accounted for the highest proportion of injuries at 37%, [which can be prevented with properly approved helmets, knee and elbow caps]. While injuries to the head and face made up about 25%, [could have been prevented by being cautious, fully attentive to the road and limiting their speed]. If you are traveling at higher speeds, riders are at a much greater risk.”
Another data from the Jamieson Trauma Institute, just made the former findings more concrete as this data found that in Brisbane over a three-year period, the most common injuries were fractures and abrasions to the head and face. Alcohol use was documented in 29% of presentations, and speeds above 20km/h were reported in more than one-third.
With a number of accidents and people going in the wrong direction, the need for new rules had to be put in place. Yes. New rules will apply in Queensland from 1 November, allowing “personal mobility device” riders to wear either an approved bicycle or motorbike helmet. Electric scooter riders will now be mandated by law to take a slower, safer pace on footpaths. Other changes revolve around the safe use of mobile devices and bringing e-scooter laws in line with cycling laws.
Queensland’s New Rules & Fines
The New Rules:
- 12kph speed limits on footpaths and shared paths, unless otherwise signed. The 25kph limit remains for all other bike paths and roads.
- Increasing fines of up to $1,078 for dangerous offenses involving speed, illegal road use, and holding a mobile phone while riding.
- Allowing personal mobility devices to be ridden in bike lanes on roads with a speed limit of 50 kph or less, and all on-road bike lanes that are physically separated.
- Mandating bells for personal mobility devices with handlebars, like e-scooters.
- Aligning personal mobility device riders with bike riders to ensure they are required to follow general road rules, such as stopping at red lights.
The New Fines:
- Up to $575 for speeding
- Up to $143 for not wearing a helmet
- Up to $1,078 for using a phone
- $143 for double riding
- $173 for riding on prohibited roads
Queensland transport minister, Mark Bailey, is responsible for releasing all these new rules to regulate e-scooter use and ensure the safety of both the riders and the citizens around.
Bailey assures, “This technology [the e-scooter] is here to stay, but we need to continue to adapt the framework that supports these devices to ensure everyone’s safety, particularly people with disabilities. If we are realistic in combating the climate emergency we have to look to these more sustainable modes.”
Definitely, electric scooters are here to stay and for the good of mankind. What is important is how these e-scooters are used so they can continue to benefit the community.
Benefits of Electric Scooters in Queensland
Electric scooters have the potential to completely change how people get around in Queensland. They provide a convenient, affordable, and environmentally friendly method of transportation that can be used by both individuals and the community at large. Some of the advantages electric scooters can bring to transportation are listed below.
- Reduced Traffic Congestion: Because they are compact and maneuverable, electric scooters let their users avoid traffic congestion. This can lessen traffic in congested regions and help keep fewer automobiles on the road overall, especially during peak hours. People may find it simpler to arrive at their destinations on time as a result of shorter and more effective travel times.
- Improved Air Quality: Queensland can dramatically lower its carbon footprint and enhance air quality by switching to electric scooters from gas-powered cars. Unlike their gas-powered competitors, which produce toxic emissions that contribute to air pollution and climate change, electric scooters produce no pollutants. This may benefit both riders and non-riders in terms of their health and well-being as well as the environment.
- Cost Savings: Electric scooters are far less expensive to run than conventional gas-powered vehicles, which need frequent maintenance and fuel. They are accessible and more cost-effective than vehicles for many individuals, and they are also more economical to buy or rent. For people who reside in urban locations with high living expenses, this may be very advantageous.
- Convenience and Flexibility: Electric scooters give users the flexibility and convenience of traveling at their own pace without having to deal with parking or traffic. They are a great option for persons who live or work in densely crowded locations because they are also perfect for quick outings and errands.
- Health Benefits: Additionally, using an electric scooter can enhance cardiovascular health and promote physical activity, all of which are good for your health. It can be an enjoyable and interesting method to travel around while also fitting exercise into your daily schedule.
Electric Scooter-sharing Services in Queensland
Electric scooter rental services have grown in popularity in Queensland, where a number of businesses provide their services to locals and tourists. Lime and Neuron Mobility are two of the most well-liked electric scooter rental services now available in Queensland.
Queensland is one of the cities where the well-known electric scooter rental service Lime is available. Through the company’s mobile application, consumers can locate and unlock nearby scooters and rent them. Electric-powered Lime scooters can travel up to 25 km/h, making them a rapid and practical mode of transportation for short distances.
Riders are obliged to wear a helmet when using the service, and Lime scooters come with safety features including front and rear lights. Additionally, Lime provides an incentive system to encourage responsible scooter usage and safe riding habits. Overall, users in Queensland have been pleased with Lime, with many applauding its accessibility, use, and environmental advantages.
Another well-known electric scooter rental company operating in Queensland is Neuron Mobility. The company’s app, which enables users to find and unlock nearby scooters, lets users rent Neuron scooters. Electric-powered neuron scooters are a rapid and effective means of transportation for short distances because they can travel up to 25 km/h.
Riders are expected to wear a helmet when using the service, and Neuron scooters come with safety features including front and rear lights. Additionally, Neuron places a high priority on sustainability, employing eco-friendly practices and undertaking projects like recycling campaigns and carbon offsets. Users in Queensland have complimented Neuron for its user-friendliness, affordability, and dedication to sustainability.
Electric Scooters and Tourism in Queensland
Electric scooters could help Queensland promote environmentally responsible and sustainable travel. These scooters are a low-carbon, pollutant-emitting, environmentally beneficial form of transportation. They are also a practical and effective means of transportation for short distances, especially in cities, which makes them a great choice for visitors wanting to explore the area. Furthermore, renting an electric scooter is often less expensive than renting a car or another kind of transportation, making them a practical choice for visitors on a tight budget.
However, adopting electric scooters for tourism comes with certain drawbacks as well. Safety is an issue, especially for visitors who might not be familiar with the regional traffic regulations and road conditions. Rider error, rough terrain, and collisions with other cars or people can all result in accidents, which can be dangerous. Additionally, parking and charging infrastructure issues could make it difficult to use electric scooters in some places. Electric scooters can assist to conserve Queensland’s natural beauty for future generations while also offering tourists a practical and economical form of transportation by encouraging environmentally friendly and sustainable tourism practices.
Although electric scooters are a convenient form of transportation in Queensland, it’s vital to recognize that they also carry some concerns. It is important to address safety issues such as rider error-related accidents, uneven terrain, and collisions with other vehicles or people. However, the risks connected with using electric scooters can be reduced by using caution and the proper safety equipment, such as helmets.
As long as users are aware of the risks and take the necessary procedures to protect their safety, electric scooters are generally a secure mode of transportation in Queensland. Additionally, electric scooters have a number of benefits, such as cost-effectiveness, simplicity, and environmental sustainability, which make them a desirable option for local short-distance commuting. As with any kind of transportation, it’s critical to use electric scooters sensibly and adhere to all safety precautions to guarantee a pleasant and secure journey.