The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) has welcomed new laws in Queensland aimed at reducing the risk of death or serious injury from e-scooter injuries.

From 1 November a series of new rules will apply to people riding personal mobility devices, such as e-scooters. The new rules include changes to speed limits and significantly increased fines for riders that speed or breech other road rules.

The scooters have been a popular mode of transport, particularly since the launch of public hire e-scooters in 2018, but have also led to a significant increase in trauma presentations in Brisbane Hospitals.

Data collected by Jamieson Trauma Institute from three emergency departments in Brisbane found that there were 952 e-scooter related presentations between November 2018 and June 2021, with the most common injuries primarily upper limb fractures and head and facial injuries..

RACS Queensland Trauma representative, Professor Kirsten Vallmuur, who led the compilation and analysis of the data, welcomed the introduction of the new measures, and encouraged similar action in other jurisdictions.

“Since their introduction, e-scooter related trauma has increased substantially, with injuries and deathsrelated to e-scooter use placing further pressure on first responders (ambulance and police) as well as hospital and health systems,” Professor Vallmuur said.

“Injuries and trauma have most commonly occurred in males aged 25-34 years and transpired in the afternoon and night times, especially on the weekends. This not only puts an increased burden on hospital resources, but it can also profoundly affect the lives of the individual with loss of work and inability to care for themselves or others.

“RACS will shortly be releasing a position paper on this matter where we will be highlighting our support for a nationally consistent approach that prioritises the safety of riders, pedestrians and other community members, and reduces the incidence of injury and impact on the health system. 

“We congratulate the Queensland Government for taking regulatory action in this area. We encourage all other states and territories across Australia to follows suit.”

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