Co-written by Elyse Strahan (Paralegal)
The US based e-scooter company Lime Network has come under scrutiny by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) after discovering that the company did not inform its rental users of a dangerous and ongoing safety issue that injured over 50 Australian users.
- Companies must disclose any known safety issues, as to allow consumers to take extra precautions if they still choose to use the product.
- Under Australian Consumer Law, a company must issue and file a report if a user has sustained an injury because of using their product.
The ACCC has issued the Lime Network with a court undertaking after finding that the companies second generation scooters are prone to excessive brake force, which has led to the front wheel often locking and causing broken bones, damaged teeth, cuts, and abrasions.
The ACCC has found that Lime did not make the necessary injury reports on at least 50 occasions relating to consumer injuries sustained while riding the second-generation scooters.
Lime ceased its rental scooter operation in March 2020 due to COVID-19 government restrictions. However, Lime has stated that they will be using generation-three or later models if they recommence operations in Australia, as they are confident that the “upgrades are successful, and they are confident that they have resolved the sudden stopping issue.”
According to the ACCC’s statement, Lime has admitted to most likely having broken Australian consumer protection laws, and they are endeavouring to regain Australian consumer trust.
What’s Next For Lime Scooters?
While scooter companies such as Lime are finding a gap in the transport market, there are questions as to how safe these new vehicles are.
After the undertaking by the ACCC, there has been growing community concern over the safety of e-scooters. The chairman Harold Scruby, of the Pedestrian Council of Australia is pushing for reforms and has stated that the government needs to “stop pretending e-scooters are safe.”
This has bought up the issue of whether riders of e-scooters should have a license and whether the scooters should be registered vehicles. Mr Scruby has also pointed out the issue of mandatory insurance policies implemented for riders, to protect both riders and other pedestrians.
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