E-scooter deaths remain a mystery as motoring group warns of data inconsistencies

A motoring group is calling for a national tally of e-scooter deaths and accidents.

A motoring group is calling for a national tally of e-scooter deaths and accidents. Photo: Getty

E-scooter deaths are slipping through the cracks in Australia due to inconsistencies between the states and incomplete data, according to a major motoring group.

The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) issued the warning on Monday, revealing e-scooter injuries and deaths were being recorded differently in many states and territories, preventing a national tally of their toll.

The warning comes one week after a fatal e-scooter crash in Townsville, and amid growing calls from medical groups for greater regulation of their use.

The AAA, which represents motoring organisations and insurance firms, revealed e-scooter fatalities were not consistently recorded in road toll figures from the Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics.

In the data, people killed in e-scooter accidents in Victoria and New South Wales were recorded as “motorcyclists”, but they were listed as drivers or passengers in Queensland, and in an “other” category in Western Australia and the ACT.

AAA managing director Michael Bradley said urgent changes were needed to ensure Australians could access accurate and complete information about the risk of the vehicles.

“There are tens of thousands of e-scooters on Australian roads, yet the official national figures don’t identify e-scooter deaths and injuries,” he said.

“Doctors and medical groups have increasingly expressed concerns about the frequency with which e-scooter riders appear in hospital emergency rooms and the AAA wants governments to record and report relevant data consistently so that emerging safety issues can be identified and properly managed.”

Bradley said national e-scooter statistics should form part of a wider revision for transport data, as current reports also failed to identify the cause of road crashes, road conditions, or the impact of police safety initiatives.

“The data should be in the public arena so it can be used to create more effective road safety policies,” he said.

The AAA’s call comes as new data showed 1266 people died on Australian roads in 2023 – a rise of seven per cent.

It also followed the death of a 35-year-old man who suffered head injuries in an e-scooter crash in Townsville. The accident is being investigated by police.

Other e-scooter deaths were recorded in Wilton, in Sydney’s south-west, and Brisbane’s inner-city suburb of Fortitude Valley last year.

The Australian Medical Association last month called for stricter rules for the use of e-scooters after a study at the Royal Melbourne Hospital showed 247 riders and nine pedestrians were treated for injuries in 2023.

One patient died from a head injury sustained during an e-scooter crash and 21 suffered major trauma.

E-scooter regulations in Australia differ by state, with some allowing the two-wheeled vehicles to be driven on footpaths while others ban it, and different speed limits that range from 12km/h to 25km/h.


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