Hospital ED braces for students and scooters

John Chambers
John Chambers
Dunedin Hospital's emergency department is ''apprehensive'' about the student influx resulting in more Lime e-scooter injuries.

Department clinical leader John Chambers said yesterday he urged students to be ''sensible, stay safe and wear a helmet'' if using the scooters.

''It is also important that scooter users realise that pedestrians may not hear them coming up behind them at some speed.''

Helmets were compulsory in Brisbane ''for good reason'', Dr Chambers said.

''ED staff are apprehensive about the next few weeks when thousands of young students will come back into town and many will be tempted to have a go.''

The department had treated ''a number of e-scooter patients with painful and serious injuries'' in the past few weeks.

Anecdotally, the department initially saw five to seven presentations a day directly attributable to Lime scooters and this was now between one and two a day.

University of Otago student Renee Whitehouse was hit by a truck while riding a scooter home from work at an Octagon bar at 1.45am on January 18. Her friend, John Cosgrove, said yesterday she was still in intensive care.

''But all signs look good that she will make a full recovery.''

A Lime spokesman said the safety of its riders was its ''No1 priority''.

''We're constantly developing and implementing new tools and product features to further promote safe riding, and will continue to see all the ways we can proactively educate riders on safe riding habits.''

When asked, the spokesman did not comment on whether the company would provide helmets in New Zealand as it had in some cities overseas.

Lime would host a local ''Safety Summit'' in collaboration with the University of Otago during Orientation Week for a ''constructive conversation around the safety implications of shared mobility'', he said.

''We encourage riders to wear helmets at all times through messaging in our app and on our scooters.''

Between November 14, 2018, and January 29, 2019, there were 37 ACC claims in Dunedin involving e-scooters, totalling $3321.

The company launched the service in the city on January 10.

This compares with 70 claims involving push scooters.

Nationwide there were 931 e-scooter claims in that time, compared with 3564 for push scooters.

Lime released a statement this week saying it recorded more than 75,000 rides and 20,000 unique riders in Dunedin in three weeks.

The company said this meant ''more than 80,000km of driving has been avoided; reducing the city's reliance on cars and carbon emissions''.


'A Lime spokesman said the safety of its riders was its ''No1 priority''.' Obviously nonsense... And what "number priority" are the walking public on the footpaths?