Asia Minute: New Zealand Study Finds E-Scooters Carry Medical Risk

Sep 2, 2019

Electric scooters are gaining popularity around the world, but wherever they go they seem to bring controversy as well. That was true when LimeBike tried to break into Honolulu, and it’s true this week in New Zealand.

Injuries on electric scooters can be severe as those suffered in car accidents.

That’s according to a new medical study in New Zealand, which covered a five-month period at the Auckland City Hospital – when 21 patients were treated for falling off e-scooters with many requiring surgeries.

The paper published in the New Zealand Medical Journal was the first detailed look at the public health cost of e-scooter crashes in the country — covering the period between the launch of Lime scooters in Auckland until the company’s license was temporarily suspended over safety concerns.

The New Zealand Herald reports another finding is that the number of e-scooter injuries outnumbered motorcycle injuries in the city over the same period.

A local spokesperson for Lime said the numbers need to be put into context —saying that “during the period in the study we had nearly 200,000 riders” and nearly 1-million rides.

Adding “any injury is one too many, but in the overall scheme of things it’s a very small percentage of rides.”

Lime and other scooter companies have made modifications to their scooters in New Zealand’s largest city — including reducing their top speed a little more than nine miles an hour.

That was part of a safety agreement reached with the Auckland City Council — whose director of regulatory services said the new medical study would help the council evaluate its approach to licensing e-scooters in the city.