E-scooter accident claim costs cross $4 million - ACC

More than $4 million has been paid out as a result of e-scooter accidents in the last year, new data from ACC reveals.

Figures released exclusively to Newshub reveal 3388 claims have been lodged since October 2018 for e-scooter-related accidents, with a cost of $4,406,824. January had the highest number of new claims, with 438 - a cost of $814,666.

The majority of the 285 claims lodged in September were in Auckland (93), followed by Canterbury (73) and Wellington (38). 

These were mostly for soft tissue injuries (158), but there were fewer than four claims relating to "concussion/brain injury" and 11 for "dential injuries".

In September, most new claims related to accidents caused by a "loss of balance/personal control", followed by "collision/knocked over by object". 

Dr Ian Martin from the Waikato District Health Board said he has seen various injuries from e-scooter accidents.

"If you ride them on a pavement, going 25km/h down a sidewalk, it's going to cause problems," he told Newshub.

Also in September, 23-year-old Toben Hunt died after a fatal accident involving a Lime e-scooter in Auckland. While Lime said it was saddened by the incident, it found no mechanical fault with the scooter involved.

Safety regulations around e-scooters have been a talking point for the last year following the introduction of Lime scooters in Auckland, followed by Wave and Flamingo scooters. Lime scooters were briefly taken off the streets in February after a safety review was ordered.

Following that, rules were introduced limiting the scooters' speed in specific locations.

The three e-scooters brands are all on a trial in Auckland until October 31, with the council monitoring their safety and compliance with regulations. After the trial has finished, Auckland Transport will consider if the regulations are satisfactory and if any changes are needed.

Currently, helmets are not legally required when using an e-scooter, however, the NZTA does recommend it. Lime says on its website that riders should follow helmet laws and has in the past distributed thousands of helmets as part of a safety campaign.

The NZTA also says e-scooters can be driven both on the footpath and on the road - but if on a road, they must be operated as close to the edge as possible.