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Beam Mobility investigating Geraldton e-scooter crash, warns drunk users face permanent ban

Jessica MoroneyMidwest Times
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The Royal Flying Doctor Service has transported a male patient from Geraldton with head injuries after an electric scooter and a Suzuki Baleno hatchback collided last night. Pictured - The patient arrives at Jandakot Airport
Camera IconThe Royal Flying Doctor Service has transported a male patient from Geraldton with head injuries after an electric scooter and a Suzuki Baleno hatchback collided last night. Pictured - The patient arrives at Jandakot Airport Credit: Justin Benson-Cooper/The Sunday Times

The company operating Geraldton’s e-scooter hire trial has warned drunk users they will be permanently banned as they launch their own investigation into a serious e-scooter crash on the weekend.

A 25-year-old man on a Beam e-scooter and a Suzuki Baleno collided on Friday night at the intersection of Lester Avenue and Fitzgerald Street.

Police said the rider, who was not wearing a helmet and appeared drunk, received head injuries when he fell onto the road and was rushed to hospital.

He was flown to Perth by Royal Flying Doctor Service on Saturday and arrived at 2.20pm wearing sunglasses and appearing relaxed, before being wheeled off the tarmac and taken to RPH where he is in a stable condition.

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e-scooter crash CCTV Geraldton
Camera Icone-scooter crash CCTV Geraldton Credit: supplied/supplied

A spokesperson for Beam said they were investigating the incident as well as working closely with police to assist in their investigation.

They said “anyone caught doing the wrong thing faces a permanent ban”, including intoxicated riders.

“We want to remind the community that e-scooter riders are held to the same drink driving laws as motor vehicle drivers, and we take illegal behaviour on an e-scooter extremely seriously. Anyone found riding our e-scooters under the influence will be permanently banned from the platform,” they said.

The spokesperson said the incident occurred 10 minutes before the Rider Check was compulsory, which activates on Friday and Saturday nights in peak areas from 10pm.

“Rider Check is designed to test a rider’s cognitive response, which has shown to be scientifically correlated to being under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol,” they said.

“We call for riders to be responsible for their actions and understand that they are breaking the law if they ride under the influence of alcohol.”

Geraldton police officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Chris Martin said police were awaiting blood analysis to determine the e-scooter rider’s intoxication levels and that he could potentially be charged with drink-driving.

“Going off the initial facts at a bare minimum, it looks like careless driving with the results of the blood alcohol test potentially upgrading that to drink driving,” he said.

The footage showed that, moments prior to the crash, the man was struggling to stay upright on the scooter as he rode down a footpath and onto the road, coming close to hitting a vehicle.

Vision then captured the rider slamming front-on into another car. The driver of the car was unharmed.

Sen. Sgt Martin said medical reports suggested the man would make a full recovery.

The crash comes just a day after one of WA’s top trauma surgeons described the “enormous exponential increase” of serious e-scooter injuries presenting to Royal Perth Hospital’s emergency department as a “new disease”.

In the first two months of this year alone, 19 patients were admitted to RPH for more than 24 hours with injuries from e-scooter crashes — an average of more than twice a week.

Last year, 62 people needed treatment for e-scooter injuries — a 60 per cent jump on the year prior, where there were 39 people admitted to hospital.

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