Study finds spike in e-scooter injuries in the U.S.
Posted: 9 January 2020 | Sam Mehmet (Intelligent Transport)
Nearly a third of the patients reportedly suffered head trauma – more than twice the rate of head injuries to bicyclists – and approximately a third of the e-scooter injuries were to women.
Electric scooters are increasingly part of the urban landscape, but a University of California San Francisco (UCSF) study has reportedly found a major surge of injuries related to scooters in the U.S., particularly among young adults.
Using data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System on national estimates of injuries related to emergency room visits, the survey found that the number of scooter-related injuries and hospital admissions in the U.S. grew by 222 per cent between 2014 and 2018 to more than 39,000 injuries, while the number of hospital admissions increased by 365 per cent to a total of nearly 3,300.
The study also found that the rate of scooter accidents increased from six per 100,000 people in 2014 to 19 per 100,000 in 2018. The most common injuries were fractures (27 per cent), contusions and abrasions (23 per cent) and lacerations (14 per cent).
“E-scooters are a fast and convenient form of transportation and help to lessen traffic congestion, especially in dense, high-traffic areas,” said senior and corresponding author Benjamin N. Breyer, MD, a UCSF Health urologist. “But we’re very concerned about the significant increase in injuries and hospital admissions that we documented, particularly during the last year, and especially with young people.”
“There was a high proportion of people with head injuries, which can be very dangerous,” said Breyer, an Associate Professor of Urology and Chief of Urology at UCSF partner hospital Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center. “Altogether, the near doubling of e-scooter trauma from 2017 to 2018 indicates that there should be better rider safety measures and regulation.”
Regulatory oversight is said to be largely absent about where people can ride scooters and whether helmets are mandatory, with previous research reportedly showing that only a small proportion of injured e-scooter riders (ranging from two to five per cent) wore helmets when they were hurt.