Senior Gardai and trauma specialists are urging parents not to give children and young teens e-scooters this Christmas – noting that the battery-powered vehicles have been implicated in one death and 24 serious injuries in Ireland so far this year.
Deputy Garda Commissioner Anne Marie McMahon said Gardaí are seeing increasing use of e-scooters, particularly in cities and urban areas where Gardai “have participated in e-scooter collisions resulting in serious injuries. Regrettably, there has been one fatality and 24 serious injuries in e-scooter collisions so far in 2022.”
“Given the speed and force of these vehicles, they are not a suitable form of transport for young teenagers or children. I would also like to remind anyone considering buying an e-scooter that it is a criminal offense to deliver a mechanically powered vehicle to a person under the age of 16 for use in a public place,” she said.
Prof Eoin Sheehan, Orthopedic Consultant at Midlands Regional Hospital in Tullamore said: “Mechanized vehicles such as e-scooters have a weapon-like effect on the human body in terms of force and impact. The lack of high visibility clothing and helmets and the speed of e-scooters cause catastrophic injuries. Just this week, new research in the UK showed that e-scooter accidents tripled between 2020 and 2021.”
His colleague Prof Khalid Merghani added: “International research conducted in an urban area over a six-year period shows that the injury rate for electric scooter riders was higher than national rates for motorcyclists, cyclists and motorists as well as pedestrians. that’s an amazing statistic.”
Under current legislation, all e-scooters technically require taxes, insurance and a driver’s license regardless of top speed, although this has rarely been enforced and it is generally not possible to obtain coverage for the devices.
Electric bikes that are only powered up to a maximum speed of 25 km/h, at which point the battery support switches off, are treated as normal bikes.
Many people also refer to smaller electric bikes with pedal assistance as electric scooters.
Under the Road Traffic and Roads Act presented by Transport Secretary Eamon Ryan, e-scooters and e-bikes, which are capped at 25mph, will be allowed on the roads with no additional requirements, but anything that can go faster while being powered will be treated as a mechanically propelled vehicle.
While most e-scooters and e-bikes on the market are limited to under 25 km/h, some high-performance models can travel at speeds close to 50 km/h, which is the speed limit for vehicles in many urban areas.
The Gardaí and paramedics also advised those walking, cycling or motorcycling in the dark to wear high-visibility clothing and take a light with them.
During the launch of a winter road safety campaign at Scoil Sheosaimh Naofa in Tullamore on Friday, Deputy Commissioner McMahon urged pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists to take every precaution.
“In 2022 so far, 25 pedestrians have been killed on our roads, the vast majority of whom were not wearing hi-vis clothing or a light. My message today is that all road users should take care of their own safety and the safety of others on the roads this winter,” she said.
Orthopedic consultant Dorothy Niall added: “I cannot stress enough the dangers of not wearing high visibility clothing. The dark mornings and evenings are here for winter and unless pedestrians, joggers and cyclists are wearing brightly lit hi-vis jackets, they simply won’t be seen.”
https://www.independent.ie/news/environment/dont-give-children-e-scooters-for-christmas-gardai-plead-as-doctors-warn-of-serious-injuries-42138026.html Don’t give children e-scooters for Christmas, Gardaí advocates, while doctors warn of serious injuries