E-scooter health effects studied by polytech students

Otago Polytechnic third-year nursing students Shana Pohe (27, centre) and Emily McRae (20, right) read their project about e-scooters, as fellow student Gemma Clydesdale (21) scoots past. PHOTO: JESSICA WILSON

Next time you hop on an e-scooter, make sure you wash your hands afterwards.

A group of Otago Polytechnic third-year nursing students conducted a research project on the use of e-scooters in central and northern Dunedin suburbs.

Emma Anderton, Gemma Clydesdale, Hannah Collins, Derelle Ferguson, Georgia Hatton, Emily McRae, Gabriella Perry, Shana Pohe, Eliza Poulter, Hannah Press, Genevieve Scurr and Hannah Van Der Geest looked at the positive and negative effects e-scooters had on users’ and non-users’ health.

Ms Clydesdale said the aim was to find a health issue and a solution for it.

“Through our community assessment we looked at a wide variety of things to come up with our health promotions,” Ms Pohe said.

One of their health issues was the lack of proper hygiene standards when people used e-scooters.

Infectious diseases could be spread via the handlebars, and could put the affected population at risk.

They wrote a submission to Lime recommending juicers clean the handle bars when they are charging the scooters each day, a pop-up appear on the app when users are locking/unlocking the scooter to remind them to carry out proper hand hygiene, and an optional tab be included on the app showing users how to properly wash their hands.

“This would promote better wellbeing, and help to protect those who are wanting to use these scooters,” their recommendation read.

Southern DHB clinical nurse specialist, infection prevention and control Mike O’Brien said good hand hygiene helped protect people from harmful bacteria and viruses, including measles and gastrointestinal “bugs”.

The students’ other health promotions were an article outlining the benefits of e-scooters, and a digital image showing the appropriate and inappropriate ways to use scooters.

Ms Clydesdale said e-scooters were a “hazard” if not use appropriately, but were a sustainable mode of transport.

They made roads less congested, were cheaper to run, users did not have to pay for parking and had positive health benefits, she said.

A Lime spokeswoman said washing your hands well and often was something everyone needed to be mindful of as it was one of the best ways to avoid getting sick and spreading germs.