Should E-Scooters Come with a Public Health Warning?

Automologist MAC has some experience in e-scootering to work in Kuala Lumpur. What does he have to say about the new e-scooter service that has come to our shores?


The ride-sharing e-scooter craze that swept across the US of A last year seems to have caught on in Malaysia, with the advent of the first scheme of its kind on the streets of the nation’s capital of Kuala Lumpur. Simply sign up to the app, find an available scooter and be whisked along to your destination. Oh, before you do, you may want to check your medical insurance coverage.

Last year, when I visited the USA, I marvelled at the silent and swift scooters wafting besuited commuters along the streets of the US capital of Washington. I did also curse a few times as I was forced to take evasive action to avoid one of the determined commuters.

Malaysia now has its first attempt to provide this service in downtown KL. With our potholed streets and lack of connectivity between pavement and crossing, the phrase “what could possible go wrong” comes to mind. Some of you may remember that I sometimes commute using my personal E-Scooter, so I am speaking from experience. I do have already enough stories about near misses and hitting potholes to fill quite a few sheets of paper. And I only commute about 3 kilometres a day.

 

Trying to find out some more information about the new e-scooter service in Kuala Lumpur, I came across a slew of articles about the health risks of riding one. In the US, statistics are a bit sketchy as hospitals record the type of injury and not what caused it. But it would appear about 1,700 accidents requiring a trip to the A&E department have occurred.

Lawsuits against the operators of the services and also the main manufacturer, Xiaomi, are also starting to mount up, with claims of gross negligence against the companies, which are alleged to know that the scooters are inherently unsafe. There are also lawsuits against the riders who have met with accidents, running into pedestrians with whom they have tried to share the same bit of ‘sidewalk’.

Almost over 30% of the accidents result in some form of head trauma, generally because the rider is not wearing a helmet. So, if you work in KL City and feel like using one of the new e-scooters that are already littering our streets, take a helmet. Be safe out there!

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