Scooter riders in the wars

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 July, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 July, 2000, 12:00am

Scooter accidents happen almost once every two days, doctors have revealed.

The accident and emergency ward of Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital in Mid-Levels treated 24 injured scooter riders last month. Dr Jimmy Chan Tak-shing, the hospital's casualty ward chief of service, said injured riders were aged between four and 28 with the average age 12.

He said patients suffered wounds (50 per cent), fractures (29 per cent), bruises (13 per cent) and sprains (eight per cent). Dr Chan said 71 per cent of patients required an X-ray. Another 71 per cent were discharged after treatment. About 17 per cent had to stay in hospital and 13 per cent were treated at the osteopathy department.

'Most riders have little knowledge of how to control scooters. Appropriate training is required to reduce accidents,' he said. 'Although Hong Kong has no regulation on age limit for scooter riders, Chicago has guidelines that children below five years old should not ride them. Children below this age generally have poor balance.' Dr Chan predicts scooter injuries will continue to rise as more youngsters buy them during the summer holidays.

Academic Dr Yau Wing-kwong, of Tai Po and North District health committee, said he would propose to the Highways and Home Affairs departments that legislation be brought in to control the use of the scooters.

The Consumer Council said it was planning to test scooter quality and safety.

The Customs and Excise Department said scooters came under the Toys and Children's Products Safety Ordinance, which meant that they were treated as toys.