As Brisbane City becomes awash with a fleet of shiny new purple e-scooters and bikes, leading compensation lawyer Travis Schultz warns the joyride could be financially destructive for the customer.
Brisbane City Council has recently approved a tender for Beam to introduce a fleet of 1,000 purple e-scooters and 400 e-bikes, adding to the orange Neuron devices in the city – and while council awarded the contract for demonstrating key safety features, there’s a catch.
Travis Schultz & Partners Managing Director Travis Schultz said while the Beam and Neuron devices appear similar on the surface, there could be a third-party liability risk for the Beam riders should they end up in an accident.
“The proliferation of e-scooters and bikes whizzing around busy Brisbane footpaths, dodging pedestrians, jumping gutters and dodging potholes at speeds of 25 kms per hour comes with significant risk,” Mr Schultz said.
“Sadly, what most customers of the e-scooter companies don’t realise is that they won’t necessarily be covered by any insurance where they cause a collision either inadvertently or through an error of judgment.
“It’s of great concern that there seems to be little appreciation by riders of e-scooters of the risk that they are taking not so much to themselves, but the risk of litigation if they happen to cause an accident. And that’s where the significant difference between Neuron and Beam lies – the insurance.
“While both Neuron and Beam claim to offer insurance, it is only the orange scooter company who offer any form of third party liability insurance. Both companies offer some limited income protection insurance for an accident (up to $500.00 per week and for 26 weeks) and some limited cover for expenses for medical treatment and rehabilitation, but where Neuron offers up to $1million in cover for third party liability, Beam offers none!”
Data from Jamieson Trauma Institute found e-scooter injuries are not uncommon, with 624 people admitted to Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Princess Alexandra and Mater hospitals in the 18 months to May 2020.
Mr Schultz is urging Brisbane City Council to reconsider its contract with Beam and ensure companies have the appropriate insurances in place before welcoming them to the streets.
“It defies belief that the decision makers who award these tenders have such scant regard for public safety and seem unconcerned to ensure that victims of these insured weapons have recourse to insurance where necessary to do so,” Mr Schultz said.
“I’d call on the Brisbane City Council to reconsider its decision to award the contract to Beam in the future unless and until the tenderer can satisfy the authorities that proper insurance cover is in place.”
“And for now, it’s a case of consumer beware – if you choose to take out one of the shiny new purple toys you do so at your own risk – and if you happen to cause an accident, it could turn out to be an expensive, if not financially destructive joyride.”