A national lawyer alliance is calling for a new insurance provisions catering specifically for e-scooter use in Australia, to avoid them “falling through the gaps” of existing regulatory and insurance systems.
The Australian Lawyers Alliance is advocating for a detailed review of insurance and regulation options for e-scooters and the development of a system that ensures all riders – e-scooter owners and people using e-scooters share services – have “appropriate insurance cover wherever they are in Australia”.
“Current insurance coverage requirements mean that injuries caused by e-scooters can leave the injured person unable to recover damages and the rider of the e-scooter financially vulnerable to significant compensation claims,” ALA national president Shaun Marcus says in a statement by the alliance.
“At present, some e-scooter riders are covered in relation to some accidents. However, that coverage is an inconsistent patchwork. There is also insufficient public information available about insurance arrangements for e-scooters and many riders are not aware that they may not be covered if they do have an accident.
“E-scooters can, and do, cause significant injury and there are reports of significant increases in e-scooter accidents in Australia in the last 12 months.”
Shaun said the insurance system needed to ensure members of the public were not left without the ability to recoup compensation against an e-scooter rider because a scooter owner has no insurance or because of an exclusion in the commercial e-scooter operator’s insurance policy.
“As a first step, mandating that commercial e-scooter hire companies offer high-level insurance, which covers both riders and any injured members of the general public, would help address the problem.”
“Some e-scooter owners may be covered by the public liability extension on a domestic home and contents policy. However, the existence of this coverage is effectively random as far as the victim is concerned and it has its limits,” the ALA president added.
“Others are covered by the insurance policies provided by commercial e-scooter hire companies but these policies can also be quite limited and have multiple exclusion clauses.
“These arrangements are entirely unsatisfactory in relation to both accident victims and e-scooter riders.”
The ALA is urging State and Territory governments to “review and improve insurance coverage requirements, to strengthen the relevant pieces of legislation, and to ensure e-scooter users are better informed about the rules and their own liability”.
“As a first step, mandating that commercial e-scooter hire companies offer high-level insurance, which covers both riders and any injured members of the general public, would help address the problem,” Shawn stated.
“Private owners of e-scooters should have the ability to purchase their own insurance, including third-party insurance, especially when they are allowed to ride their e-scooter on public roads and in public areas. There are currently no products on the market that offer this insurance.”
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