Calls for scooter ban after serious injuries
A fractured pelvis and fibula, a tibia that broke into six pieces, a cracked femur, and a shattered ankle are injuries just two riders have sustained after falling from newly legalised scooters.
Brisbane residents Daniel Follett and Julia Kent have both spent time in hospital in the past fortnight after coming a cropper on Lime Scooters.
Mr Follett has vowed to continue riding the devices when he fully recovers in about three months' time, from injuries he thought he would never sustain on a scooter.
He said he was travelling home from work when he was distracted by a group of people who he had just passed on the footpath along Main St, Kangaroo Point.
"They started yelling and carrying on after I passed them. I turned to see what the commotion was and then I came off," Mr Follett told The Courier-Mail.
"I just went down. To be honest it was little bit blurry."
Mr Follett ignored the advice of a good Samaritan, who had stopped to help, to call an ambulance and instead called an Uber as he wanted to go home.
"I was bleeding from my face and I tried to get up by holding on to the scooter, and I went to walk, and I collapsed," he said.
"I had already called an Uber … I got piggybacked to the Uber and went to the Mater."
Mr Follett, who describes himself as a "seasoned" scooter rider, fractured his pelvis and cracked his femur "right where the ball is" and spent four days in hospital.
He said he never realised the damage that could eventuate by merely falling off a scooter.
"I've ridden them about 30 times and I didn't really think I could do that sort of damage," he said.
"The worst case scenario I thought, was I would take some skin off and a couple of bumps and bruises."
Mr Follett may consider himself lucky compared to Ms Kent, who spent more than a week in hospital following an incident in West End.
Ms Kent had just collected a scooter and had travelled all of 10 metres along the road when she attempted to steer up a driveway.
The scooter struck the lip of driveway, throwing Ms Kent to the ground.
"It just stopped dead," Ms Kent said.
"I thought I had just broken my leg and I'll be out of here (hospital) in a cast but I was surprised how many breakages and the extent of the damage.
"I shattered my ankle, I broke my tibia in six places and had a spiral fracture of my fibula.
"I've have a metal rod, from my knee to my ankle, and eleven screws. The surgeon said "you've done a number on that'."
Not only will Ms Kent be bed-bound for Christmas, the accident happened just a few days before she had been due to leave for Panama in Central America.
Ms Kent said the scooters should not be banned but people need to be made aware of the severity of the injuries that can occur when things go awry.
She said people have joked that she was drunk at the time, but at 2pm on a Sunday, she said she could not have been more sober and was travelling at only 10km per hour.
Her injuries are expected to take six months to heal although there will also be a lot of rehabilitation and physio along the way.
"I don't think they should be banned, but people don't have the connection with what sort of injuries can be caused by riding them," she said.
"These are quite dangerous and you are riding them at your own risk and at the risk of others."
Shine Lawyers solicitor Sarah Grace said it appeared to be a situation where inadequate assessment and due diligence had been done before the scooters were made legal.
"Basically everybody fends for themselves and using these without any sort of consideration for safety," Ms Grace said.
A Department of Transport and Main Roads spokesperson said scooter operator Lime had been required to take all reasonable steps to protect public safety and the department had worked with the company to ensure users had been provided with information on how to operate the e-scooters in a safe and respectful way.
"TMR has not received any verified details of serious injuries. Any Lime Scooter related complaints should be referred to Lime or Brisbane City Council," the spokesperson said.
Scooter riders had to be at least 16 years of age, or 12 with adult supervision, travel no faster than 25km/h, wear an approved helmet, ride only on paths, including the bicycle side of a shared path, give way to pedestrians, and travel at a safe speed to ensure they can stop to avoid any collisions, use lights and reflectors for use at night and must not use a mobile phone or consume alcohol.
Lime was contacted for comment.