A woman was left with a brain injury, which she claims has affected her temperament, after she was hit by an e-scooter as she got off a bus.
Debra Christensen suffered a concussion, had severe bruising to her hip, and injuries to her cheek, chin and left hand, after she was struck hit by a Lime scooter ridden by Mitchell McIntyre in central Auckland, on June 25, 2019.
McIntyre denied carelessly using a vehicle, at a judge-alone trial at Auckland District Court on Thursday.
CCTV footage shown to the court showed Christensen swiping off the bus with her HOP card, leaving via the back door and being knocked over by McIntrye as he rode along Fanshawe St’s footpath.
Christensen, who was on her way to work as an Auckland Council senior building surveyor at the time, said she didn’t recall anything of the crash as she lost consciousness.
“I woke up face down on the road, and it was like a dream,” she said.
Many people, including McIntyre, rushed to help her. They used tissues to stop the bleeding coming from her head and her mouth, she said.
She said she had concussion that required a brain scan, as well as severe bruising to her hip. The collision caused her to bite through her tongue, and her injured cheek took a long time to heal.
Christensen told the court McIntyre apologised to her at the scene.
“He said something about, ‘I only tapped you’, but he did say sorry, from a distance,” she said.
Since the collision, Christensen said her normally patient personality had changed.
She said she had just begun counselling because she was very angry and had “a short wick”.
“I found myself shouting at two customers afterwards.”
McIntyre’s lawyer Alistair Haskett asked Christensen if she had looked left or right before stepping off the bus.
She answered by saying she was getting off a bus, which was a safe place and that she was not crossing a road.
Haskett said there was no evidence of speed during the incident. He said the law showed a road encompassed the footpath and users must be aware of others.
“So in other words a pedestrian can’t just step out from a shop, on an alleyway, a driveway, a bus or a parked car into the path of another road user on the footpath,” Haskett said.
“My client is entitled as a road user lawfully on the footpath to rely on other road users complying with their obligations not to impede him.”
He said this included bus passengers who had an obligation to exit safely.
“A pedestrian must not unduly impede the passage of a wheeled recreational device. That, in my submission, is what has happened here,” Haslett said.
The complainant was injured and everyone was very regretful of that, Haskett said.
“That’s the case but this is one of these situations where road using is an inherently risky activity, but it has great social value,” he said.
“We can’t regulate against every accident that happens on the road.”
McIntyre faces up to three months in prison and a fine of $4500 if found guilty of the charge. Judge Christopher Field reserved his decision.