Comparing the risky behaviours of shared and private e-scooter and bicycle riders in downtown Brisbane, Australia

Electric scooter (e-scooter) use has increased internationally, with concerns about injuries to riders and pedestrians, and reports of non-use of helmets, excessive speed, drink-riding and underage riding. E-scooter regulations vary widely among jurisdictions, with likely effects on the extent and nature of safety issues. This study was conducted in downtown Brisbane, Australia, where e-scooters must be ridden on the footpath, bicycles are allowed on the road and the footpath, and helmet use is mandatory for bicycle and e-scooter riders of all ages. It examined involvement in illegal and risky behaviors, and interactions with pedestrians. Shared and private e-scooters, and shared and private bicycles were compared to assess the relative influences of type of vehicle and shared use. Observations at six sites in downtown Brisbane in February 2019 recorded 711 shared e-scooters, 90 private e-scooters, 274 shared bicycles and 2788 private bicycles. Illegal riding (not wearing a helmet, riding on the road, or carrying a passenger) was more prevalent among shared than private e-scooters (49.6 % vs. 12.2 %). Non-use of helmets was more common among riders of shared e-scooters (38.6 %, OR = 20.995, p < .001) and shared bicycles (18.8 %, OR = 10.994, p < .001) than private bicycles (1.5 %); occurred more often on the footpath than the road (20.1 % vs. 1.8 %, OR = 3.004, p < .001); and occurred more between 2 and 4 pm than between 7 and 9a.m. (21.3 % vs. 5.5 %, OR = 1.711, p < .01). More than 90 % of e-scooters, about half of shared bicycles and about a quarter of private bicycles were ridden on the footpath, with about 40 % within 1 m of at least one pedestrian. When there were pedestrians within 1 m, conflict rates ranged from zero to 1.5 % and no collisions were observed. At least for helmet non-use, the results suggest that risky behaviors are more prevalent among users of shared schemes, and that this difference is accentuated for e-scooters. Interactions with pedestrians are common but conflicts rarely occur in footpath riding. Further observational and survey studies are recommended to better understand the factors influencing the perceptions and behaviors of shared and private e-scooters and pedestrians. The knowledge gained from these studies needs to be integrated with injury outcome data to determine the appropriateness of rules for maximum speeds and locations of riding in terms of both rider and pedestrian safety.


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  • Accession Number: 01765954
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 10 2021 4:06PM