Safety warning on using eRideables this festive season: Do you know the rules? | AMA (WA)


Safety warning on using eRideables this festive season: Do you know the rules?

Tuesday December 19, 2023

With a wide range of eRideables no doubt skating, scooting, wheeling and hovering their way under Christmas trees, the AMA (WA) and WA’s State Trauma Unit (STU) at Royal Perth Hospital (RPH) are stressing heightened safety regarding these popular and fun forms of transportation.

AMA (WA) President Dr Michael Page said that WA’s outdoors lifestyle and climate lent themselves to the use of eRideables but it was important to recognise the safety risks posed, particularly at this time of year.

“We are by no means advocating to restrict the safe use of devices such as e-scooters, e-skateboards and hoverboards,” he said.

“Just be sensible: wear a helmet, be careful around cars and pedestrians and at night, and don’t drink or use other drugs before riding.

“These can be a great way to get around. However, it’s vital to recognise there is legislation and a number of rules that govern the use of eRideables, and for good reasons.”

Key information to note includes:

  • Only people aged 16 or over are permitted to use eRideables.
  • If you buy an e-rideable, make sure you buy an approved Australian Standard helmet. Riders are required by law to wear a helmet.
  • eRideable users are subject to the same drink and drug driving laws as motor vehicles.
  • On footpaths, keep to 10km/h or less. On bicycle paths, shared paths and local roads eRideables can be ridden up to 25km/h where safe.
  • Always ride to the conditions and slow down where there’s congestion, before turning corners and when passing pedestrians.
  • You need working lights on your eRideable, and either use a bell, or give a verbal warning where required.

The warning is timely, as the vast majority of eRideable crashes —  more than 70 per cent — occur in the warmer months.

Typically, the STU is seeing 12 patients a week as a result of eRideables.

With the increasing number of eRideable crashes, there has been a corresponding increase in injury severity.

RPH head of trauma services Dr Dieter Weber emphasised the toll the popular devices could have when misused.

Of RPH trauma eRideable patients, 54.1 per cent did not wear a helmet. 2.7 per cent of cases had no safety device recorded, and 39.2 per cent had documented consumption of alcohol and/or drugs, and of these none were wearing a helmet.

“As a trauma surgeon, I simply see the results of too many accidents when eRideables should be a cause for enjoyment,” he said.

“I don’t think anyone would like to spend Christmas in surgery or hospital – especially for an injury that was avoidable with some simple precautions.

“Put on the safety gear and observe the relevant rules – increase the odds when it comes to enjoying your Christmas and summer holiday.”