Thousands of Electronic Scooter Users Injured in Crashes and Collisions
Many cities in the U.S. have begun allowing electric scooters, and many other cities are considering legislation that would soon allow electric scooters. For example, electric scooter legislation was introduced in New York toward the end of 2018, and a recent report from KYW News Radio Philly reports that electric scooters could soon be available in Philadelphia if a new piece of legislation passes.
However, e-scooters (as they are commonly called) also pose significant safety risks. According to a Consumer Reports investigation, the dangers of electric scooters are real. E-scooter accidents are causing thousands of personal injuries across the country, and emergency departments are failing to accurately track them.
Since the end of 2017, approximately 1,500 people in the U.S. have suffered injuries in electric scooter accidents. According to the report, “several doctors at trauma centers told Consumer Reports they’ve been treating serious injuries related to e-scooters since the rideshare fleets started showing up on some city streets about a year and a half ago.” Examples of common e-scooter injuries that occur when users are not using scooter safety include but are not limited to:
- Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBIs);
- Facial fractures; and
- Bilateral forearm fractures.
In some cases, patients require surgery for serious injuries. Many e-scooter users do not wear helmets because they are not available to rent with the scooters, and few people carry helmets with them. Wearing a helmet is one of the most important parts of safe scooter riding and electric scooter safety.
While some emergency departments are keeping track of e-scooter injuries, others are not. The two largest electric scooter companies, Bird and Lime, also indicated that they do not currently have the capacity to track all injuries associated with these products.
The key piece of information from the investigation is that without safe scooter riding, e-scooters result in far more injuries than previously assumed. This e-scooter statistic includes collisions with pedestrians and bicyclists, as well as accidents involving motorists.
Preventing Electric Scooter Injuries: Electric Scooter Safety Tips
Knowing the dangers of electric scooters, what should e-scooter users do to prevent injuries? While the Consumer Reports investigation suggests that these transportation devices simply may not be safe in their current form, riders looking to stay safer should follow electric scooter safety recommendations. The following are scooter safety tips from a Medium article:
- Always use safety equipment, including a helmet to prevent head injuries, as well as elbow and knee guards;
- Check the tires on an e-scooter before using it, and avoid using a scooter that has worn-out tire treads or obviously low tire pressure;
- Focus on your surroundings when you are on an e-scooter, paying particular attention to pedestrians, motor vehicle traffic, and any barriers;
- Avoid distractions, including listening to headphones or attempting to talk on the phone to focus on safe scooter riding;
- Be aware of dangers on the road, such as potholes or crevices that could cause an accident;
- Avoid riding a scooter on any slick surfaces, and avoid riding after a rainstorm; and
- Avoid using a scooter altogether if there is a lightning storm.
If you were injured in an e-scooter collision with a motor vehicle, you should speak with a personal injury lawyer about your case.