Commuters travelling to work by scooter and motorbike are being by zhangyun


24 March


The small size and easy manoeuvrability of scooters can belie some of the dangers
they pose for an increasing number of commuters riding them to work.

Wellington chartered accountant Debbie Moore knows only too well these risks. Last
August, Debbie came off her scooter in Mount Victoria while riding to work and has
since endured nearly eight months of recovery.

“I was coming down Mount Victoria and hit a patch of black ice which caused me to
lose control. When I fell I hit the ground and skidded about 40 metres down the road
and landed on the other side of the road - and I was only going about 40 kilometres
per hour,” Debbie said.

She had suspected hairline fractures to her wrist and ankle, extensive bruising and
neck injuries, which meant she had to be off work for three weeks. Debbie has only
just been able to start exercising to the level she had been prior to the accident.

Recent figures from the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) show that
scooter and motorcycle injuries in central Wellington are rising steadily.

Last year motorcycle injuries in Wellington increased by 7.3 per cent, compared with
a national increase of 6.7 per cent, and ACC paid out nearly $1.4 million for scooter
and motorcycle injuries.

ACC Programme Manager Anna Long said it’s important people commuting by
scooter or motorbike understand they are more vulnerable than other motorists, but
they can take steps to protect themselves against serious injury, such as wearing the
correct protective clothing, taking a rider training course and riding defensively.

“There’s a perception that scooters are an easy and safe mode of transport and that
you can ride them in your normal clothes without any training, but that’s simply not
true,” Ms Long said. “At the very least, scooter riders should be wearing an approved
helmet, protective jacket and gloves.”

Debbie Moore says that she’s back riding her scooter to work again but with a more
safety-conscious approach.

“I’m definitely much more cautious and would never ride without the proper gear.”


For more information or to arrange and interview, contact:

Stephanie Julian
ACC Lead Media Advisor
DDI: 04 918 4291

Quick facts:
               o   In 2008 more 1,500 new motorcycles were registered in Wellington,
                   about 10% of the national total
               o   More than half of these were under 60cc – the most common type
                   of motorcycle for commuters
               o   The national motorcycle fleet is about 100,000 – about a quarter
                   are scooters under 60cc
               o   About 40 per cent of crashes occur at intersections
               o   In urban areas, the most common injuries are fractures and
                   abrasions to limbs

Safety tips for scooter riders:
               o   Assume that other drivers haven’t seen you – be ready for the
               o   Be extra alert around intersections
               o   Invest in proper riding gear. Ski jackets and ski gloves will not
                   protect you properly
               o   Take a riding course to improve your skill level
              o   In the wet, road markings, smooth seal, oil patches and even
                  manhole covers can be dangerous. Brake before them, ride slowly
                  past and stay in an upright position
              o   Make sure you stand out – choose a light coloured helmet or wear
                  a high visibility vest
              o   Check your bike regularly – key areas to look at are the oil level,
                  tyre pressure and tread, brakes, lights and indicators.

For further information visit

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