ACC has now racked up just over $2.1 million in e-scooter related claims since Lime launched in New Zealand in October last year - with the cost to the taxpayer in Auckland alone now topping $1m (see table below).
And the true amount will be higher, because the breakdown the state accident insurer supplied the Herald covers all treatment costs and entitlements incurred (such as ACC picking up part of the tab if you spend time off work) but *not* the cost of emergency treatment at public hospitals, which ACC bulk-fund through a $530m contribution that is not allocated to individual claims.
The stats continue to look grisly.
There have been 2211 e-scooter accident claims since October 14, including 359 fractures or dislocations, 46 involving concussion and 44 dental injuries.
The worst accidents have required hospitalisation, such as 26-year-old Dunedin woman Renee Whitehouse, who suffered serious injuries including a fractured skull when her Lime tangled with a truck on January 18, and 27-year-old Auckland man Liam Thompson who broke his jaw after being thrown over his Lime's handlebars on February 9.
The Herald raised the cost of Lime scooter accidents to Lime's global head of operations and strategy, Wayne Ting, as the American visited Auckland during April amid lobbying over the second phase of the city's e-scooter trial.
Ting defended his company from several angles.
"One of the unfortunate challenges is that any sort of transportation hardware has inherent risks," he said. But he added that e-scooters are safer than other forms of transport.
Going by ACC stats supplied to the Herald, he's correct on that score.
Even allowing for the fact only half the population has access to e-scooters from rideshare companies, their ACC cost is dwarfed by claims for other modes of transport.
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Ordinary scooters racked up 8131 claims between the week starting October 19 last year and May 10 - or four times as many as e-scooters.
And the total cost of scooter-related claims was $3m, or a third more than e-scooters.
ACC also supplied figures for bicycles, which were the source of 2106 new claims between October last year and April this year which, with other active cycling claims, cost the agency $17.1m for the period.
And cars were the cause of 12,627 new claims over the six months which, with active car claims, cost ACC a total $168.9m.
Although it's cold comfort to the likes of Thompson, with his broken jaw, the money ACC pays out for Lime change is chump change in the state insurer's greater scheme of things.
Motorcycle claims were still being compiled by ACC at press time - but the fact they're taking more than a week to compile hints at their size.
Ting also noted that while e-scooter ride-sharing operators have rapidly expanded to cover around half our population (they're in Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, the Hutt Valley and shortly Wellington), there's also been something of a personal e-scooter boom nationwide - just go into any cycling shop and try to buy an e-scooter for personal use and you'll probably find yourself on a waiting list.
Again, the figures suggest he has a point. ACC does not record how many claims in Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin and the Hutt relate to Lime and smaller rival Wave.
But its figures do show that outside those areas, ACC clocked $423,000 in e-scooter claims, which would all have been for personally owned e-scooters - a not insubstantial sum.
Ting also addressed a firmware bug during February that Auckland Council said was responsible for 31 injuries - and which also coincided with Lime's worst three weeks for injuries. (The weekly injury count has since tailed off notably, despite more scooters being available.)
The operations manager aid the bug - which saw Limes pulled from Auckland and Dunedin streets for a week - has been sorted.
The episode also saw Lime introduce a number of measures in NZ which it plans to roll out worldwide, including mandatory weekly checks even if a scooter registers no faults, and real-time performance reporting.
More probably, Lime has also created a dedicated safety team, and has its Generation 3 e-scooter due by the end of the year, which will offer better suspension, bigger wheels, a context-sensitive screen that can display messages to the rider and other features the company says will boost safety.
More, Ting underlined that Lime is as annoyed as anyone else by Limes on the footpath or zipping between traffic on the road.
Lime chief executive and co-founder Toby Sun told the Herald that e-scooter riders should be in cycleways - where it's safer for themselves and removed from pedestrians.
There are two immediate barriers to that solution.
One, it's currently illegal to ride an e-scooter in a cycle lane, even if Auckland Transport is turning a blind eye at present. That should be overcome. Transport Minister Phil Twyford has said he's open for a law change, which can be expected around the time the second phase of the e-scooter trial happens in October.
Two, there just aren't that many cycleways. Here, Lime says it's open to Auckland councillor and planning committee chairman Chris Darby's idea for a per-ride levy if the money goes toward new or upgraded cycleways.
Sun was also open to a 15km e-scooter speed limit in high-density areas. (A Lime can hit 25km/h on the flat or up to 40km/h downhill).
On May 14, Auckland Council backed the idea, releasing a revised code-of-practice to cover phase two of its scooter trial that encourages operators to enforce a 15km/h speed limit in the following areas:
• Ponsonby Rd
• Jervois Road (College Hill to Curran St)
• Karangahape Rd
• CBD including Queen St and waterfront area
• Auckland City Hospital precinct
• Parnell (including the Blind Foundation precinct)
• Mission Bay
• St Heliers
Wave has already added "geo-fencing" technology to slow its e-scooters in restricted areas. Lime has it in the works.
And if you want to further improve your odds, Lime is giving away free helmets (which are recommended but not legally required) as part of a $3 million safety programme. To claim one, email Lime or contact them through their app.
Phase two of the Auckland e-scooter trial will wrap up on October 31, after which the council and Auckland Transport will confer on granting any of the contenders a permanent licence.
If e-scooters do get the green light, the focus will shift to operators' conditions on trading.
Lime's Asia-Pacific government affairs manager, Mitchell Price, has been vocal in his opinion that, like Uber with cars, Lime should have no restriction on the number of e-scooters it can put on Auckland streets.
Sun has indicated his company would like to see up to 10,000 Limes around the city. If that day does dawn, we'll revisit ACC's stats.