ACC reports injuries continue on downward trend, as Auckland Council study declares “E-scooter benefits outweigh injuries from use” [Updated 8 and 9 Feb 2019]

According to this article published in Stuff, a study conducted by Auckland Council has concluded that the benefits of e-scooter use on footpaths and roads very clearly outweigh the injuries from their use.

The report points out that all modes of transport entail risk and give rise to injuries (including walking), and the evidence they collected showed that e-scooters are a less injurious and costly form of transport compared with journeys taken in cars and on bicycles.

…with the data available, the council said e-scooter mobility benefits “appear to be larger than the social costs, relative to the total social cost of transport injury in Auckland”.

Earlier this year Segway NZ News published a story e-Scooter accidents fall 41% over 4 months despite rider numbers soaring.

Now, latest figures from ACC show this overall trend continues downwards, despite ever-increasing ride sharing and private e-scooter ownership.

ACC e-scooter incidents til Nov 2019.jpg
Chart by Segway NZ, using data from ACC (with Dec 2019 estimated – see also another report of this data, charted to Jan 2020, at the bottom of this article)

The chart above suggests the accident rate may also have seasonal variations. According to NZ Herald’s Chris Keal the majority of ACC-reported incidents are thought to be ride-sharing users, rather than private owners of e-scooters. This may be because private owners represent a group of users who are more skilful riders, are more risk-adverse, and operate mainly along regularly travelled commuting routes where risky portions of the journey are well-known so these risks can be self-managed. For obvious reasons e-scooter sharing users likely encounter novel environments on a far more regular basis.

The NZ Herald managed to entitle their article with the delightfully/shamefully misleading ACC e-scooter claims hit new high of $5.3m – so why is Government in slow lane? Yet this so-called new “high” is simply the sum of every prior month’s incidents added up together. A running total like this will always reach a “new high” with every passing month (because it can never go down).

The more interesting statistic is that November’s so-called “new high” is in fact the month with the third-lowest number of injuries from the preceding 13 months. This is despite the number of rides taken and number of e-scooters in use having increasing vastly during this same 13 month period.

December figures – still in the works – should show a drop. November 29 saw Auckland Council order Lime off Auckland streets after it failed to make the cut for the first official six-month e-scooter licensing period, which runs through to June 3. And it took until mid-January for newcomers Jump by Uber, Beam and Neuron to get their hardware on the city’s streets.

But now that they’ve arrived, ACC’s bill could spike. That’s because Auckland Council upped its cap on ride-share e-scooters from 1875 to 3200 as it introduced its first licence. That’s a problem because while more cycle lanes are being built, construction is still very much a work in progress…..We’ll get there. As commuters are keenly aware, a lot of new micro-mobility infrastructure is being but in place. And Cabinet will eventually stir into action and clean up the rules and we’ll see safer, more enjoyable scooting.

Stuff has since published an article sensationalising recent e-scooter accidents and dollar-total totals of ACC claims ($7m in 15 months). But buried at the very bottom of the article are the comparisons that shines perspective on the sensational headline:

  • Cycling injuries cost taxpayers just under $74.7m – more than 10 times more than e-scooters*
  • Skateboard and push scooter injuries also cost more, just over $16.1m and $11.3m respectively (collectively a total of 27.4m)

 * in addition to simply comparing the total costs, it would be interesting to know the number of commuting trips (between points A and B) being taken by cyclists vs e-scooter riders in cities where both modes of transport are common. Most e-scooter trips are for commuting rather than recreational purposes, but the cyclist total does not split out journeys conducted primarily for commuting versus sports and recreational use.

Elsewhere, Stuff’s article focuses heavily on two individuals who fell off and injured themselves. Both men freely admit to the foolhardy decisions that led directly to their accidents:

  • “Stewie” was riding drunk on a sharing scooter to get home after a night out on the town. He said he’d learnt from his experience, and in the future “…if I go drinking, I’ll be sticking with Uber.”
  • Matt Marshall is reported to have admitted: “I was in a knee brace at the time and hated not being able to drive [a car], so I turned to an e-scooter to get me around. I had been on one a couple of times with the brace before and was fine so I wasn’t worried.” Ironically, he fell off the sharing scooter while riding home from an appointment with a physiotherapist who was treating his knee injury.

The third example of an (albeit minor) injury quoted in the article was from a story written by a Stuff reporter who, on his first ride, lost control and scuffed a little skin off his arm (see My heart says yes to Lime scooters, despite my humiliating fall from one). The article implied the journalist exceeds the safe rider weight limit of the device he had hired, and admits he set off on his first ride with an over-confident mindset. The article closes with a simplistic and obvious list of ‘Safe Riding Tips’ that concludes by urging riders to have fun…

SAFE RIDING TIPS

– Share the space: Respect the people around you by allowing space when passing, and if on the road, follow the road rules.

– Wear a helmet: It should fit nice and snug, and have two fingers of space from your eyebrows. If you do fall off and have a serious knock to the body or head, see a doctor.

– Start off slow: If you’ve never ridden a scooter before, get a feel for it first and find your balance before you go racing off.

– Have fun: Most of all, enjoy being out and about, and trying something new.

An announcement from government is expected during February 2020 about micro-mobility, after being bumped (for the second time) in November 2019. Chris Keal again:

It was July last year when Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter – who has the safety brief – first said the Government would consult on an update to our laws around micro-mobility transport. Supposedly, before the end of 2019.

Approached again by the Herald this month, Genter said a discussion paper would go to Cabinet “soon”. It would be followed by public discussion.

This briefing is likely to encompass ways to regulate e-scooters of various sizes (perhaps by speeds/power output/weight/size/number of wheels, etc), as well as a wide range of other personal mobility solutions including: self-balancing personal transporters such as full-size Segway PTs and their seated configurations (e.g. the just-announced Segway S-Pod, and the Segway PT-based BodyElectric MAX and Omeo “power chairs”), smaller self-balancing devices such as Segway products (S-series/mini-series) – and their less-stable cousins we call “Hoverboards” – along with nimble one-wheeled Electric Unicycles, and a range of 3- and 4-wheeled personal mobility devices.

UPDATED: Another article in NZ Herald by Chris Keal (9 February 2019) presents data up to January 2020 (although it is unclear if this is for the full month).

Curiously, the data presented in the 9 February article varies in certain months with the data in the 28 January article (upon which Segway NZ’s above graph is compiled). For comparison, we present a graph below generated from the data reported 9 February, which continues to show a downward trend.

ACC accidents continue to fall Jan 2020

[Updated] Segway S-Pod revealed at CES (info, videos and more – including rare photos of P.U.M.A. prototype)

[UPDATED 11 January 2020]

Segway has made headlines worldwide with the S-Pod, a new self-balancing seated transporter.

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Want to see how it goes? The best video footage of it being used by a reporter can be found at here at tech news site The Verge. Reports suggest the S-Pod may be launched next year (2021).

The Guardian has ranked the S-Pod at #3 in their list of Top 7 Standout Gadgets.

TIME Magazine rated the S-Pod at #5 in their Top 25 best-of list.

For other video coverage see here or Gizmodo’s less interesting video here accompanied by a good article that includes a description of what it is like to ride. Here are some edited excerpts from Gizmodo’s article:

Unlike the original Segway…there’s no leaning forward or backward—the S-Pod shifts your centre of gravity automatically for you. Climbing into the chair feels a little weird, sort of like falling into a moving recliner, but I never felt like I was in danger of toppling out. The thing is also slightly smaller in person than you’d think based on the pictures. Think of a slightly bigger gaming chair, complete with RGB lighting, that you can drive.

Learning to drive the S-Pod was quick. All it took was a 5-minute tutorial. Similar to many electric wheelchairs, you push the joystick forward to move forward and accelerate. You push back to brake or move in reverse. Turning left and right will spin you in a circle while pushing forward at an angle will help you turn….

….Even though Segway capped my demo S-Pod at 12km per hour, it felt like I was whizzing down the track at a semi-dangerous speed….Segway says that while the max speed will be 38 km/h…depend[ing] on local regulations and what they’re being used for.

While the S-Pod feels like it could be an accident waiting to happen….Segway told me the company thought long and hard about safety. For example, on turns, the S-Pod will automatically slow down so you don’t flip out of the chair….

…There’s also RGB lighting on the back that acts like a blinker, so people will know which way you’re turning. That’s because the target use-case is similar to the original Segway—things like tours and making it easier to traverse longer distances in public areas. (Note: the S-Pod, while probably helpful for folks who can’t walk for long periods of time, is still targeted at able-bodied folks and is not intended to be a replacement for wheelchairs.) All-in-all, I think most people would enjoy scooting around in one of these.

The S-Pod is based on Segway’s P.U.M.A. (2009) here and its direct evolutionary descendents – three Segway EN-V series of prototypes (2010-11). See our earlier articles about EN-V here, here and here – that were developed in conjunction with General Motors.

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P.U.M.A. in New York at launch (2009)

Here are images of two of the three EN-V prototypes first shown at the Detroit Motor Show and the Worlds Fair in Shanghai circa 2010-2012. At the time, many press articles failed to understand the benefits of a two-wheeled, self-balancing platform for carrying seated occupant(s) versus small, traditional four wheeled vehicles. Yet the benefits of half the number of wheels and motors, plus simplified steering were quite obvious to engineers.

EN-V.jpg

Sometimes it takes a decade or more for the world to catch onto a really good idea. For example, see our articles:

Auckland in Fifty Years (or, Predicting the future: Part 1)

UniPod pre-dates UNI-CUB by 33 years (or, Predicting the Future: Part 2)

“In the future, we will all drive standing up” (David Byrne, Talking Heads) (or, Predicting the Future: Part 3)

We made further predictions in our 2011 article Segway PT and the next 10 years. Segway New Zealand’s prediction for 2020 is the boom in micro-mobility that is has been focused on KickScooters for the last two years will, three years from now, shift rapidly across to a focus on self-balancing transporters of a variety of sizes and configurations. As users look to replace their worn KickScooters many will seriously consider self-balancing alternatives because for a significant portion of users (perhaps even the majority) they are a better solution – they just don’t realise it yet.

Yet technological predictions remain subject Amara’s Law, which states that we overestimate the effect of many technologies in the short run but underestimate them in the long run. It is often easier to predict what may happen than when. This ‘law’ is touched upon in one of Segway NZ News’ most popular articles of all time: Justin Bieber really loves his Segway PTs – a tipping point in the evolution of attitudes towards Segway PTs. It includes a favourite image of actor Michael Douglas from Wall Street holding a “brick” cellular phone and asking “Wait you’re breaking up – WTF is an eye phone” that sums up just how quickly things can change. Yet the rise of the self-balancing machines is proving to take a little longer than Dean Kamen originally imagined.

The P.U.M.A. and EN-V were based on a platform where the platform that carries the rider(s) can slide across the PowerBase. This movement of mass in a forwards or backwards movement is equivalent to a standing rider upon a Segway PT leaning forwards or backwards to control speed.

EN-V platform.jpg

Segway New Zealand’s Philip Bendall got to see and sit in the original P.U.M.A. prototype while visiting Segway-Ninebot’s Beijing HQ during September 2019. Let’s compare the S-Pod with the P.U.M.A. starting with a photo of a line-up of several of Segway’s unusual products (the P.U.M.A. is on the right).

PUMA Bike RMP Patroller lineup.jpg
Left to right: Segway Robotic Mobility Platform (RMP); Segway SE-3 Patroller; Segway Electric Racing Bike (winner at TT-Zero 2011-13); P.U.M.A.

In addition to the two large wheels for self-balancing operation, the S-Pod has one “landing wheel” on the front for when it “kneels down” when the rider mounts/dismounts, and a pair of small wheels at the rear. The P.U.M.A. had a pair of small landing wheels at the front (these can be seen in the lineup photo above)…and also a pair of wheels at the back.

PUMA rear.jpg

Unlike the joystick-controlled S-Pod, the original P.U.M.A. had a steering wheel with buttons to transform from “kneeling” to self-balancing position.

PUMA steering wheel.jpg

This is a close-up of the P.U.M.A. wheel and gearbox (which does not appear to be a gearbox from a Segway PT).

PUMA gearbox.jpg

Here are instructions for use (in Chinese):

PUMA instructions.jpg

And finally the author looking very excited to be sitting in the original P.U.M.A.

PUMA Philip.jpg

For Philip, sitting in the P.U.M.A. and riding the Segway Centaur prototype rated right up there with being one of the first persons to fly the Martin Jet Pack in 2009.

philipjetpack11.jpg

‘Scoot Safely’ with your Spark Segway e-scooter

Spark NZ and Santa teamed up to deliver hundreds of Segway KickScooters under Christmas Trees all around New Zealand yesterday.

A recent Spark promotion bundled the latest Samsung phone or tablet with a Ninebot by Segway ES2 and Helmet, and many of these KickScooters got unwrapped for the first time on 25 December.

ScootSafe1.jpg

Included with every e-Scooter was a ‘Scoot Safely’ brochure created by Spark in conjunction with Segway New Zealand to educate riders with 10 important tips.

E-scooters should be safe for everyone and every rider is responsible for operating their device safely at all times.

ScootSafe2.jpg

We recommend all owners of Ninebot by Segway KickScooters read our previous articles that focus on safety and maintenance, including:

‘Te Segway’ at Te Awa (patrolling The Base, Hamilton)

One of the country’s largest shopping malls has hired an extra Segway i2 Patroller from Segway New Zealand to cope with massive 2019/2020 Christmas Holiday trading hours and swelling numbers of customers.

‘Te Segway’ joins the management team located in the indoor mall building called Te Awa, at The Base mall in Hamilton. Security guards on Segway Personal Transporters (PTs) have been patrolling this site for the last decade.

TeAwa2019A.jpg

Development at The Base was announced in 2002 (incidentally the year the Segway PT was launched to commercial operators such as police forces and commercial campuses).

Once an NZ Air Force Base (hence the name), plans for this 29 hectares of land have always been driven by a very large vision. Today, the Te Awa shopping mall, surrounding outdoor strip mall, and sprawling commercial centre covers much of the full site. You can read more about the history of the land, original Maori inhabitants and current ownership, along with information about how this massive site continues to develop.

Te-Awa-The-Base-Aerial-Veiw1.jpg

There are a lot of great reasons to put security and first-responder staff onto Segway’s two Patroller models (i2SE and x2SE) at large pubic sites, which is why this ‘use case’ is one of the largest market segments for Segway products worldwide.

Here in New Zealand Segway PTs are widely deployed nationwide for event management, public safety (ambulance/first aid responders), traffic control and and by security guards. Search Segway NZ News for articles detailing many, many such examples over the years.

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Some of our previous stories about patrolling The Base on Segway PTs include:

Armourguard clocks up 25km per day at The Base

All-weather Segway Patrolling at The Base

Update on Armourguard at The Base and Manukau Institute of Technology

Segway Patrollers secure The Base and Coca-Cola

Patroller at The Base clocks up 16,000km in 3 years (15km per day)

ADT Armourguard rolls out first Segway Patroller at The Base

TeAwa2.jpg

 

Oh my o-ring! Troubleshooting your InfoKey

You’ll want to read this article if you’ve lost or damaged the o-ring seal that fits under the battery cover on the rear of your InfoKey. We have replacement o-rings in stock.

The Segway PT’s programable wireless InfoKey was one of several major innovations incorporated into the Segway i2 and x2 range at launch. The InfoKey provided a decoupled User Interface, the ability to change modes, adjust settings, and see operational information (including speed, average speed, trip meter, odometer, time, date, cautions, error codes, adjust the units and programable performance limits, etc). Other innovations first introduced with ‘Gen 2’ (second generation) Segway PTs included intuitive LeanSteer, clever Roll Compensation when crossing rough terrain, and reduced sensitivity of the LeanSteer input in Turtle mode (making learning to ride a PT for the first time even easier).

The InfoKey remains a unique benefit of today’s Segway i2SE and x2SE models, which are about to be updated for 2020 with Extended Range battery packs.

After a lot of use, or due to damaged caused by dropping, the InfoKey can underperform or stop working altogether. A primary reason for a poorly performing InfoKey is a flat or low-quality button battery (CR2430). You probably won’t find a suitable, good-quality button cell for your InfoKey at retails in New Zealand. But we’ve already fixed that problem for you – just click on this link to purchase what we believe to be the world’s best CR2430 cells directly from us here at Segway New Zealand.

Here’s a link to one of our most popular pages: Removing and changing the InfoKey battery.

This page includes the following note and warning about the o-ring seal located under the cover on the rear of the InfoKey:

There is one important thing to watch out for when you remove the back, or come to put it back on. There is a thin black rubber O-ring seal that sits in a depression around the circumference of the back face of the InfoKey. When the back cover is screwed down onto this, it makes a water-tight seal. Sometimes, this O-ring can partially lift out, or even completely fall out, when you remove the back cover. If this happens, carefully press it back down into place before you screw the back cover on again.

Without the O-ring, not only can water get in, but the back cover will not screw down tightly. This can result in a poor connection between the battery and the InfoKey, causing unreliable operation when you push the InfoKey buttons, and also the regular loss of time and date settings. A poor connection can encourage a user to press the buttons harder than is necessary, eventually resulting in failure of the button mechanism. Failed buttons cannot be repaired, and the entire InfoKey must be replaced.

0 Rings IK.jpg

Segway New Zealand has replacement o-rings for InfoKeys in stock. These are $10 each including GST and postage within New Zealand.

 

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