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E-scooter safety needs to be treated as a ‘matter of urgency’

The Queensland government has been urged to bring in increased legislation — something which this Queensland lawyer said can’t come soon enough.

user iconLauren Croft 18 August 2022 SME Law
E-scooter safety needs to be treated as a ‘matter of urgency’
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Queensland compensation lawyer and litigation director of Gold Coast-based law firm Parker Simmonds Solicitors & Lawyers Bruce Simmonds has urged the state government to require all e-scooters and motorised bikes to be registered and subject to compulsory third-party insurance, just like cars are.

Whilst the government has recently announced a crackdown on e-scooter safety, Mr Simmonds said it hadn’t gone far enough — and further measures are needed.

From 1 November, speed limits on some footpaths will be halved to 12-kilometre per hour, while e-scooters will need to be equipped with warning devices, such as a bell. Enforcement powers to take non-compliant devices off the streets will also be introduced under the reforms, as well as increased penalties for riders who break the rules.


This news follows the banning of e-scooters from NSW footpaths, as Sydney councils refused to participate in an electric scooter trial earlier this year.

“They ignore the dangers of mixing E scooters and motorised skateboards on the crowded confines of footpaths,” Mr Simmonds argued.

“The situation is that scooters and motorised bikes that meet the limited capacity requirements don’t need third-party insurance and don’t require to be registered. This is wrong and needs to be rectified as a matter of urgency.”

This issue has come up in a client case for Mr Simmonds, where it was suspected that a modified bike was used in an accident, and because of the modification in the power increase, it would be required to be registered.

“We believe all motorised devices used on public pathways and roads should require a form of third-party registration. At present the person riding the scooter is legally liable if they injure someone. E-scooters are not permitted to travel on the road but if they were allowed, they would have to be registered and have compulsory insurance,” he said.

“It’s a legal grey area in many ways but if the state government is aware that allowing scooters to travel faster than walking pace on footpaths and does nothing to address the safety issues, the state could be held liable for injuries suffered in scooter accidents.”

Mr Simmonds, acting for his client who was struck by an e-scooter on a Gold Coast footpath, is adamant mixing e-scooters, motorised skateboards and pedestrians together is guaranteed to generate more injuries and compensation claims.

“The state which has unlimited powers on such matters should insist that if scooters are travelling at more than 10 kilometres per hour, which is walking pace, they should be registered and carry compulsory insurance.

“At the moment riders are not required to have third party insurance and so if they injure someone on a footpath the victim has to sue them for compensation,” he added.  

“If these devices have the capacity to travel at a faster than walking pace they should be better regulated. Realistically if e-scooters can do more than 10 kilometres per hour, they should be registered and the riders should have to be insured.”

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