As e-scooters become more popular around the country, injuries are also becoming more numerous. Between 2014 and 2018, emergency room physicians treated nearly 40,000 broken bones, head injuries, and cuts and bruises resulting from scooter accidents, according to a study published in the scientific journal JAMA Surgery. The scooter injury rate among the general population climbed from 6 per 100,000 to 19 per 100,000.
What exactly is causing these accidents and injuries? The answer isn’t entirely clear, but the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently investigated the issue.
Researchers Discover High Speeds Lead to More Severe E-scooter Accidents
According to the IIHS’s recent report entitled “Severity of e-scooter rider injuries associated with trip characteristics,” e-scooter riders are more likely to suffer severe injuries when riding on the road, which may be because they travel at higher speeds on the road.
“One possible explanation for the increased severity for those injured on the road,” the investigators wrote, “could be that these riders were traveling at higher speeds than those injured elsewhere.”
Investigators enrolled 105 adults who were injured while riding e-scooters. They had them complete an interview during their emergency room visit, then they examined the riders’ answers along with data concerning their injuries and treatments.
The most common location for e-scooter injuries occurred on the sidewalk (58 percent) or road (23 percent). Those injured on the road were about twice as likely as those injured elsewhere to sustain more severe injuries. Ten percent were struck by motor vehicles. Overall, however, motor vehicle crashes were infrequent. Instead, falls caused by surface features like potholes and uneven pavement led to about two-thirds of the incidents.
The researchers also noted that those who rode their e-scooters more often also experienced greater injury severity. They theorized that frequent riders “may take more risks that could increase severity when a crash or fall occurs….” Over a third of the riders were injured on their first ride, however.
In conclusion, the researchers noted that e-scooter riders often have no designated place to ride, or are unsure where to ride. Further studies are needed to understand the risks of injuries on various surfaces.
Tips for Riding E-scooters Safely
To help keep you and your family safe while riding e-scooters, follow these tips:
- Don’t double up. If you have more than one person on a scooter, it’s dangerous as it throws off the balance of the scooter.
- Wear a helmet. There’s always a chance of a collision with someone else or even with a vehicle. A helmet can support your head and help you avoid serious head injuries. It’s also wise to wear other safety equipment like knee pads and elbow pads.
- Watch out for hurdles. Potholes, bumps, crevices, curbs, and more can pose safety risks for e-scooter riders. Maintain your focus and slow down and stop if needed.
- Avoid slippery surfaces. Marble tile, metal surfaces, wet streets, and muddy sidewalks can make your e-scooter unstable, increasing your risk of injury.
- Check the scooter over. Before using a scooter, always check to see that the tires are in good shape and that the brake works well.
- Store the scooter safely. Particularly if you’re using a scooter-sharing service, make sure to prop the scooter upright and out of the way of traffic before leaving it.
Exclusively focused on representing plaintiffs, especially in mass tort litigation, Eric Chaffin prides himself on providing unsurpassed professional legal services in pursuit of the specific goals of his clients and their families. Both his work and his cases have been featured in the national press, including on ABC’s Good Morning America.