As you drive around Kansas City, you will notice an abundance of rental electric scooters (or e-scooters) out and about, whether it be a Lime, Bird, Lyft, or something else. If you are reading this, chances are you have even downloaded an app on your phone and taken one of these dockless, shareable two-wheelers for a spin yourself. According to the National Association of City Transportation Officials, roughly 38.5 million trips were taken on shared scooters across dozens of United States’ cities in 2018 alone. While they are fun and help you get to where you are going quicker and easier than walking or even, in some instances, driving, they also expose you to potential injuries from careless drivers or hazardous road or sidewalk conditions. Accidents involving these scooters are not uncommon and the injuries can be serious, even fatal. In fact, the first fatality that involved a shared electric kick scooter occurred in Dallas, Texas in September 2018, more have occurred since.
Electric Scooter-Related Injuries
In a study done by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 271 people were identified with potential electric scooter-related injuries from September 5 to November 30, 2018. During this relatively study period, there were a total of 182,333 hours of e-scooter use, 891,121 miles ridden on e-scooters, and 936,110 e-scooter trips. It was calculated that there were 20 individuals injured per 100,000 e-scooter trips taken during this period. Of those injured riders, about half sustained head injuries (with 15% experiencing traumatic brain injuries). While a helmet may have prevented or limited the extent of these injuries, only one of 190 injured scooter riders was wearing one. The CDC research team also took note of where people were being injured. Over half were injured in the street, while 33% were hurt on the sidewalk. Cars or other motorized vehicles factored into 16% of injuries, and only 10% of riders actually collided with a car. Other notable causes of injury include hitting a curb (10%) or some other inanimate object (7%) Such as a light pole or manhole covers. Further, many of the injuries were suffered by first-time electric scooter riders.
Electric Scooter Safety Tips
- Wear a helment when possible
- Maintain a safe speed, as 37% of people injured in the CDC study on scooters blamed their injuries on going too fast.
- Follow the rules of the road, including traffic signs and rights of way.
- Just like when driving a car, do not drink and drive while on a Bird/Lime/Lyft scooter.
- Be extra cautious and drive slower at night.
- Be careful around other scooter users and maintain a safe distance.
- Maintain a safe distance from cars.
- Slow down while passing pedestrians.
Types Of Scotter Accidents
- Third-Party Liability Accident – This commonly occurs when a third-party, such as a negligent driver of a car, hits a person riding his or her scooter.
- Electric Scooter Malfunction – This could be a brake failure, flat tire, or sudden power loss, among other things.
- Improper use of the electric scooter – An example would be use of an e-scooter in a location where it should not be ridden, multiple people riding the same e-scooter, or even unsupervised children on an e-scooter
- Road Hazard – Examples include an e-scooter hitting a pothole, ice, or defective sidewalk that was hit while riding the rental electric scooter.
Types Of Injuries Sustained While Riding A Scooter
Injuries to rental electric scooter riders are often serious. In fact, almost half of the injured scooter riders reported sustaining a severe injury. A severe injury was defined by the CDC as bone fractures (84%); nerve, tendon, or ligament injuries (45%); severe bleeding (5%); and organ damage (1%). As mentioned above, people have also died while driving electric scooters and there have been many traumatic head injuries that have resulted from riding these scooters.
Some other injuries include:
- Sprains and strains
- Cuts and lacerations
- Facial Injuries
- Head Injuries
- Wrist and arm fractures