Release date: 20 December 2023

In the lead up to Christmas, leading Queensland compensation law firm Travis Schultz and Partners (TSP) is urging Christmas shoppers to be aware of the potential liability and costly consequences the gift of an e-scooter might have for a loved one. 

While this may seem like the hot ticket gift this year, in Queensland, e-scooters are not required to have Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance so many don’t realise that in the event of an accident, the at-fault rider will likely have to pay injury compensation.  

With some e-scooters reaching speeds of 80km per hour, the joy of racing along pedestrian footpaths and roads can quickly evaporate for riders who find themselves colliding with a pedestrian, cyclist or motorist.1 

While the popularity of e-scooters soar, so do the injuries, according to the Queensland Injury Surveillance Unit (QISU), who record an average of 100 new e-scooter patients each month. The 2023 count is still in progress, however by July it was already near triple that recorded in 2019, with 716 e-scooter injuries admitted to emergency departments.2 

With e-scooters set to be a Christmas favourite under the tree this year, Trent Johnson, Partner and Brisbane leader at TSP, has some advice for those who happen to unwrap one of these shiny new toys on Christmas morning.  

“It’s a case of consumer beware – if you choose to take your new e-scooter for a spin on Christmas morning, you do so at your own risk,” Mr Johnson said.  

“Most aren’t aware of the limited protection they have by most of the insurance on offer – and that’s assuming you have taken out insurance. In addition to your own safety, riders need to be aware of the damage they can cause to others and the significant costs that can be associated with ongoing injury and loss of income.” 

Last year, the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) assessed almost 1,000 e-scooter related injuries across three of Brisbane’s biggest hospitals and found fractures to the head and arms accounted for the highest proportion of injuries at 37 per cent, while injuries to the head and face made up about 25 per cent.3 

As a personal injury lawyer Mr Johnson adds that in addition to the public liability claims he sees, he also deals with workers’ compensation claims – which are on a steep rise for e-scooters having tripled with 421 claims being made between 2018 and 2022.4 

“The type of e-scooter related injuries I encounter in my role acting for injured people, range from leg and shoulder fractures and dislocations to head injuries.”  

In June, a 60-year-old man died after clipping a gutter and falling from an e-scooter he was riding in Fortitude Valley in Brisbane.  

“While e-scooter riding has its risks no matter where you ride, riders need to be particularly alert and prepared for the unexpected when riding in the city given the volume of pedestrians, other riders and the traffic,” Mr Johnson said.  

“Here in Brisbane we often hear of ‘dooring’, where motorists open car doors onto an e-scooter riding close by and at high speed. And there’s also the possibility of the e-scooter malfunctioning and throwing the rider off.” 

It also pays to be aware of the new laws introduced into parliament in October this year by Transport Minister Mark Bailey. The Queensland laws propose hefty new penalties for careless riding on footpaths and bike paths, and for not meeting post-crash obligations that involve riders providing their details to those impacted after a crash.  

Mr Johnson says he is in support of these new laws adding “These tragedies won’t be the last unless rider behaviours change.” 

Queensland Government rules for personal mobility devices: