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e-scooter in wet Melbourne
Concern rising over electric scooter problems

When a consumer association in Europe set out to road-test the leading electric scooter brands and report the best choice back to its members, it's recommendation came as a shock.

There was no best. They were all bad. Instead, they recommended people by a bike instead!

No doubt many letters to the North Pole from Australia this Christmas may have dropped a hint regarding the desire for a shiny new e-scooter.

But if the damning report by Test-Achats is any guide, Santa needs to be careful, and increase the liability insurance cover in a hurry.

Based on specially designed laboratory tests as well as an on-road test route, Test-Achats found numerous problems with the devices.

Battery failure and braking problems in wet conditions was a common problem.

The organisation described the wet weather braking distances as “abominable”.

A spokesman said: "We advise against bringing an electric scooter home."

"If you really want to invest in a mobility solution, we recommend buying a bicycle or a folding bike.”

Watch a video from the test team here. Note, it's not in English. 

In a related development a research team at Henry Ford Health System in Michigan has raised concern over the high rate of head and neck injuries that are resulting from e-scooters.

The study describes how the types of injuries which include concussions, fractures, contusions and abrasions, lacerations and internal organ injuries have changed since the introduction of e-scooter rideshare systems to the public in September 2017.

The study’s break down on the type of injuries shows that head and neck injuries made up nearly 28% of the total injuries.

Results were also broken down by age groups and showed that from 2009 to 2017, patients who were 17 years old or younger made up the most injured age group.  After 2017, the demographic of 18-to-44-year-olds became the most injured age group.

In the US e-scooters can travel at speeds up to 55 kmh.

The study says the e-scooter accidents involved cars and ground obstacles such as curbs, poles and manhole covers.

Other factors that led to accidents include mechanical problems such as failing brakes and wheels. Distracted riders were also a factor.

This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.

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