There's a warning some people are already being left with “life-changing” injuries after crashes involving e-scooters.
It comes after Independent TD Peter Fitzpatrick yesterday told the Dail it's only a matter of time before someone's seriously hurt or killed.
He’s calling for emergency legislation to ensure the public is protected.
The Tánaiste admitted there is a "gap in the law" when it comes to e-scooters, but said the Government intends to legislate on the issue.
Leo Varadkar said officials have already drafted the necessary legal changes, with a bill to go to Government shortly.
He said the bill would give the Minister of Transport the powers to make regulations around the use of the scooters.
Dr Frank Lyons, an orthopaedic surgeon at the Mater Hospital in Dublin, says he has already treated patients seriously hurt by e-scooters.
He said: “I would describe them as life-changing injuries - a lot of them are injuries to the upper limbs such as the forearms, the elbows and the shoulders.
“All of these are cases that result in very significant fractures and dislocations, and require surgical intervention and prolonged follow-up periods.”
'An accident waiting to happen'
Deputy Fitzpatrick spoke to Newstalk Breakfast following his comments in the Dáil yesterday.
He said: “I’m not against e-scooters, but I think we need regulation.
“These e-scooters can do speeds of between 20-40 km/h. Even yesterday going to Leinster House, I was stuck in a traffic jam - I saw on e-scooter coming up on the footpath… and [the rider] went in on the scooter into a shop. To me, that’s very dangerous.
“The problem we have at the moment… is there are no laws covering the e-scooters.
"The Government said yesterday they intend to legislate going forward, but this could take 12-18 months.”
Deputy Fitzpatrick said lots of people have been exercising outdoors during the pandemic, but some simply ‘don’t feel safe’ on footpaths due to e-scooters.
Amid these concerns, the Louth TD said he’s contacting senior ministers to ask for “emergency legislation” to be introduced.
He said: “The bottom line is: if someone crashes and knocks someone down or damages property… whose responsibility is it?
“There’s an opportunity we could add them onto our motor or house insurance, but we definitely need some kind of regulation.
“My biggest fear is someone’s going to be hurt or killed - as far as I’m concerned, it’s an accident waiting to happen, and the Government has to act.”