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E-scooter injury presentations at Dunedin’s emergency department have outpaced car-related ones in a sample from this year.
An article published in Emegency Medicine Australasia this week outlines one of the impacts the introduction of e-scooters has had on the city.
It was authored by staff and students of the University of Otago and the city’s emergency department.
Included in the study were 228 vehicle-related injury presentations in samples from this year.
Lime scooters began operating in Dunedin in January.
During the six-week study period, there were 56 e-scooter-related presentations, representing 54 events.
Car and truck-related injuries constituted 52 presentations, and motorbikes and mopeds 21.
The largest group was bicycle-related, at 62, which included collisions between bicycles and cars.
On average, one department bed was occupied by an e-scooter patient for two hours and 44 minutes each day during the study period.
Graduating medical student and co-author Luke Barker said what surprised him most were the resources taken up by e-scooter injuries.
"If you were to quantify that cost, that’s a lot of money."
Emergency department nurse practitioner and co-author Signe Stanbridge said there were things the study did not assess, such as the extent of injuries from car-related presentations.
"Potentially, they could be more serious injuries, but we can’t tell you that from this study."
It also did not take into account any potentially positive public health benefits of e-scooters.
The study said the information could be used to inform public policy.
Ms Stanbridge said this could involve enforcement of wearing helmets and dedicated "e-scooter infrastructure".
The Southern District Health Board and Dunedin City Council were unable to provide comment yesterday.
Auckland Council pulled Lime and Wave e-scooters from its streets last month.
Dunedin City Council community services general manager Simon Pickford said recently the council had a good relationship with Lime through its memorandum of understanding and regularly met the company to discuss concerns and safety issues.
E-scooter companies do not need licences to operate in Dunedin, but the council is working towards making this happen.
It expects a bylaw to be in place by the middle of next year.