18 August 2020 | Comment | Article by Cari Sowden-Taylor

The perils of e-bikes and e-scooters and how to stay safe: Injury Prevention Week

This week is Injury Prevention Week. 

It’s organised by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, whose members are committed to campaigning for reform to improve the law for injured people. But, we would all prefer for people not to be injured needlessly in the first place. 

The focus this year is on road safety for pedestrians with a particular focus on children. 

It has been a strange time for all of us during the last few months and many areas are now seeing increased use of e-scooters and e-bikes. 

Trials are taking part in some areas of the country to see whether e- scooters will reduce motor traffic as many people avoid using public transport during the Coronavirus pandemic. But there are rules in terms of the use of e-scooters and many people seem unaware that it is only rented e-scooters which can be used on the road in certain areas - their use is strictly prohibited on pavements. 

Given that e-scooters can reach 15 mph, it is advisable to wear a helmet and they should only be ridden if the user has a full or provisional driving licence. 

I am concerned about the number of people, and in particular young people, that I've seen riding e-scooters recently without helmets at high speeds and I worry about the injuries that they may sustain if they fall off, or if they are involved in a collision. 

Additionally, vulnerable pedestrians, such as children, the elderly or individuals with a disability, are potentially at even greater risk of injury given that e- scooters are quiet and may not be heard until they are extremely close. Given that it is not mandatory to have insurance, any injuries caused by e-scooters potentially leave those injured in a situation where they may not be able to seek compensation for their injuries.  

Research conducted by the Public Health Department in Austin, Texas calculated that there were 20 injuries for every 100,000 e-scooter trips with almost half of those injured sustaining head injuries. These statistics are alarming.  

Then there are e-bikes. 

Only last week Simon Cowell shared the news that he had suffered a spinal injury after falling off his e-bike. Cowell is reported to have undergone six hours of spinal surgery and is lucky not to have suffered paralysis. 

With e-bikes travelling up to 50 mph it is vitally important that the riders consider their own health and safety, as well as others, carefully before they ride. Simon Cowell has advised e-bike users to ‘read the manual’ before you ride and I would also encourage users to wear a helmet to protect themselves as much as possible. 

If you, or a loved one, have suffered an injury and would like legal advice, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. 

About the Author: 

Cari Sowden-Taylor is a Partner with over 12 years post qualification experience of working with seriously injured people and bereaved families. She is accredited by the Law Society’s Personal Injury Panel and is a member of APIL (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers) as well as a fluent Welsh speaker. 

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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