Darwin e-scooter injuries to be probed by doctors amid concern accidents are going unreported Leave a comment

People are regularly turning up to Darwin’s emergency department with serious injuries sustained in e-scooter accidents, according to a medical group concerned the injury rate is not being properly recorded.

Both the licenced e-scooter operator, Neuron, and the City of Darwin council, which is overseeing a Neuron e-scooter trial, have admitted they do not have comprehensive accident data.

But Australian Medical Association NT branch president Rob Parker said up to five people presented to Royal Darwin Hospital with “quite serious” injuries each weekend, mostly from riding drunk, two-to-a-scooter or without a helmet.

He said the accidents are increasing pressure on hospital emergency departments.

“But for the individuals concerned, a broken leg, a head injury have quite a major impact on people’s ability to work,” he said.

Paramedics attended 74 e-scooter incidents in the year since Neuron e-scooters arrived on the streets of Darwin, although that figure includes private scooter accidents too.

A close-up photo of the handlebars of a Neuron e-scooter in Darwin city.
Up to 350 Neuron e-scooters are currently available to rent in Darwin.(

ABC News: Andy Hyde


Lord Mayor Kon Vatskalis said he was concerned by any injuries but his council did not receive data about accidents, despite recently extending the e-scooter trial.

He said he wanted to know if injuries were only riders of Neuron’s e-scooters, “because there are a number of people who have their own private scooters, and certainly they probably would have accidents”.

Only Neuron’s hireable e-scooters can legally be ridden on public land in Darwin under a traffic law exemption granted to the company.

Paramedics, e-scooter company produce different figures

Neuron Mobility did not specifically respond to a question about how many accidents it has recorded since its Darwin trial began in January last year.

But in its application for a 12 month trial extension, approved by the council in November, the company said there were about one-and-a-half accidents “requiring inpatient treatment” for every 100,000km travelled.

It said Darwin users had travelled about 800,000km over more than 400,000 trips between January and October last year.

That would equate to about 12 injuries over that period.

A spokeswoman for St John Ambulance, however, said paramedics attended at least 54 incidents over the same timeframe.

A spokesperson for Neuron said its statistics only captured incidents reported to the company, and some were not reported because they were minor or riders “may have not been following the riding rules and so they are less keen to report the incident”.

“Safety is a top priority for Neuron, we record and analyse incidents in all of our cities so we can further improve our e-scooters, the way we operate them, and also how we can educate our riders to travel in the safest possible way,” the spokesperson said.

A photo of a bright orange e-scooter parked in front of a shop in Darwin city.
The devices are common on the streets of inner-city Darwin.(

ABC News: Andy Hyde


The scooters are subject to numerous safety protocols, including regular maintenance checks and safety messaging in the app riders use to rent them.

Users are also expected to wear a helmet and not ride under the influence of alcohol.

Andrew Everingham from St John Ambulance said almost all of the injuries paramedics attended over the year happened at night.

“The majority of injuries are to the head/face,” he said in a statement.

“St John NT recognises that e-scooters are a fun way for families and friends to explore Darwin, however there is potential for serious injuries if riders ignore necessary precautions.

“It is important that people not use the scooters while intoxicated and always keep a respectful distance between pedestrians and other vehicles. Wearing a helmet is also crucially important to protect against injuries.”

NT Police said they were unable to provide data about e-scooter offences because of how they were reported.

Study to prevent avoidable hospital visits

Mr Vatskalis denied that the council should have had access to better injury data during the trial review process.

“We wanted to find out how they are used, the frequency of use and the range of their use. The injuries do not come into it,” he said.

“We do not expect the injuries because we believe that people will take personal responsibility seriously and will follow the rules and the law of the country.”

Associate Professor Parker said he intends to raise the injury rate with the council once an upcoming study is finalised.

“If council are going to make decisions about people’s safety and the safety of the public and the use of the scooters, they need accurate data,” he said.

A group of orange e-scooters parked on a sunny day in Darwin city.
Medical groups are now undertaking a study looking into e-scooter accident rates.(

ABC News: Andy Hyde


An NT Health spokeswoman confirmed that study would track e-scooter injuries as part of a broader bid to reduce avoidable hospitalisations.

“In a joint project between both Royal Darwin and Palmerston regional hospital campuses and the RDH Trauma Service at the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre, a study is being undertaken to track e-scooter-related accidents,” the spokeswoman said.

“The results of this study will provide valuable information and evidence towards preventing avoidable presentations in Top End hospitals.

“Data collection to inform this project will continue into the middle of the year and will be followed by analysis.”

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