26 September 2022

ACT records worst road toll since 2015 after death of 19-year-old e-scooter rider

| Claire Fenwicke
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ACT Road Policing Detective Acting Inspector Paul Hutcheson described Canberra’s latest road fatality as a “tragic and preventable” death. Photo: Claire Fenwicke.

The ACT has recorded its first e-scooter fatality and its worst road toll since 2015, following the death of a 19-year-old woman.

The Canberra local died after her e-scooter collided with a station wagon at the corner of Drakeford Drive and O’Halloran Circuit in Kambah on Sunday afternoon (25 September).

ACT Road Policing Detective Acting Inspector Paul Hutcheson described the incident as another “tragic and preventable” death on our streets, urging all road users to take “personal responsibility” for their actions.

“Most collisions are avoidable if we just obey the rules, share the roads and have a little bit of compassion for each other,” he said.

“We can have the best vehicles, the best rules in place, but if people aren’t following the rules then, unfortunately, collisions like this are going to keep happening.”

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Investigations were still underway, but it appeared the woman had been crossing the intersection on her personal e-scooter after visiting the local shops.

There was no indication at this stage whether charges would be laid.

Both the driver involved and several other motorists stopped to help when the crash happened.

The rider’s body was thrown a significant distance from the crash site and she wasn’t wearing a helmet.

However, Det Act Insp Hutcheson said it was difficult to say whether a helmet would have prevented her death.

“It’s a difficult situation there given it’s an 80 km/h zone, so you can imagine the vehicles travelling along that road would be travelling around that speed,” he said.

“Any collision with a vulnerable road user [at that speed] is going to have a significant impact on the person.”

Accident scene in Kambah

A 19-year-old woman died following a collision between her e-scooter and a car in Kambah. Photo: Ian Bushnell.

Det Act Insp Hutcheson ruled out extra campaigns to inform motorists of their responsibilities on the road as he said e-scooters were “nothing new” and generally followed the same rules are cyclists.

“We all know the rules. We’re all adults … I don’t think the road rules are a secret,” he said.

“[Police] can go out and enforce and enforce and enforce, but each individual person who uses our roads – whether it be as a pedestrian, e-scooter rider, car or bus driver – has a responsibility to obey those rules.”

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With school holidays in full swing and more children expected to be using or walking alongside our streets, parents have also been urged to have a discussion about responsible road usage.

“It’s a good opportunity tonight for all parents to sit down with their kids and talk with them about wearing their helmets, checking both ways before you cross the road, and making sure that you use the roads and your bicycles, etc safely,” Det Act Insp Hutcheson said.

“If we all obey the road rules, we’ll probably all get home safely or get where we’re going safely.”

There have now been 12 people killed on Canberra’s roads in 2022.

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Sad story and condolences to the family and friends of the rider.

I wonder if the Greens still want to allow people to ride without helmets.

TR, helmets are for falls from a bike at bike speeds. No protection will stop a person being killed when hit by car at 80kph.

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