Data failings prevent e-scooter safety analysis

Australia’s official road deaths records are failing to accurately record deaths and injuries among e-scooter riders because of glaring inconsistencies in data collection and reporting between states and territories.

Media organisations have reported numerous e-scooter deaths in recent years, but national road toll figures – updated monthly by the Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics (BITRE) – do not accurately reflect these tragedies.

Analysis by the nation’s peak motoring body shows people killed riding e-scooters in Victoria and NSW are recorded by BITRE as motorcyclists, while WA and the ACT report them as “other”. Queensland e-scooter rider deaths are recorded as drivers or passengers.

This data inconsistency is symptomatic of Australia’s broader data reporting problems, as they relate to transport safety. The AAA’s Benchmarking the Performance of the National Road Safety Strategy, released today, identifies that the causes of Australia’s worsening road toll are unclear because state governments do not release data on the causes of crashes, the condition of roads, or police traffic enforcement.

The AAA is very concerned that national figures on road fatalities are now becoming less reliable as e-scooter deaths begin to skew the little data that Australia does report nationally.

AAA managing director Michael Bradley said the Federal Government must lift its game on e-scooter data collection so safety experts and users can better understand safety issues.

“There are tens of thousands of e-scooters on Australian roads, yet the official national figures don’t identify e-scooter deaths and injuries,” Mr Bradley said.

“E-scooters are an important and growing element of the transport landscape, but we also know there have been deaths reported in the media.

“Doctors and medical groups have increasingly expressed concern about the frequency with which e-scooter riders appear in hospital emergency rooms, and the AAA wants governments to record and report relevant data consistently so that emerging safety issues can be identified and properly managed.”

Mr Bradley said the e-scooter data problem was a symptom of a much broader data problem across all levels of government.

While BITRE reported the number of road deaths each month, it had no data on the causes of crashes, the condition or roads and the impact of police traffic enforcement because states do not share the information.

“This data should be in the public arena so it can be used to create more effective road safety policies,” Mr Bradley said. “The data would also show whether politicians invest in roads to make roads safer, or to win votes in marginal electorates.

“The AAA calls on the Federal Government to incentivise states to end this secrecy by linking its $10 billion a year on road grants to states to a new mandatory data reporting requirement.”

Mr Bradley said the need for improved data collection was critical because the national road toll was increasing after many years of decline.

The AAA’s call for data transparency and evidence-based policy has the support of 18 national medical, insurance and transport organisations, as well as federal MPs from every political party except Labor.

The AAA’s Benchmarking Report is available at

/Public Release. View in full here.