Electric scooters have recently become more and more popular in cities all across the United States, but with that popularity has also come an increase in scooter-related injuries, according to a report from CNN.
Known as E-Scooters, these compact modes of transportation are popping up on city streets across the globe and causing more serious injuries than even bicycles.
Number of Scooter-Related Injuries up 222%
A report that comes from the University of California in San Francisco shows that the number of injuries to scooter users in the United States grew as much as 222% between 2014 and 2018.
The number of patients who had to be admitted to a hospital because of scooter-related injuries went up by 365% and there were over 39,000 of these injuries reported from emergency room visits.
The largest number of injuries occurred in 2018 with 14, 651.
There were 8,016 scooter-related injuries reported the prior year.
Head Injuries at the Top of the List
As CNET points out, these electric scooters were meant to be a “fun, easy way to get around.”
Unfortunately, along with the rise in their popularity has come a rise in the danger that people are undertaking when riding them.
Nearly a third of all of the patients who were seen for injuries sustained while riding a scooter was head injury patients.
The injuries reported the most were 27 percent fractures, 23 percent contusions, and 14 percent abrasions.
Reports say that the actual number of scooter-related injuries could be much higher because hospitals do not have a dedicated way to report them.
Scooter Injuries Causing Severe Trauma and Death
CNET found that in the year 2018 alone there were as many as a thousand deaths per month in the United States because of electric scooters.
While some of these accidents were rules as driver-error, the others were because of faults in the construction of the scooters themselves, and the lack of laws concerning scooter use.
In some instances, the driver simply lost control of their scooter and ran into a curb or a wall.
In other accidents, however, both attorneys and doctors have reported that the throttle was stuck, or the brakes failed to work, causing injury to the rider.
Many Flaws in Design Have Been Reported
In November of 2019, CNN Business reported many flaws in the designs of some of the most popular brands of E-Scooters, and in the infrastructure of cities and towns.
While the report admits that the scooters offer “an easy and affordable way for people to get around,” and states that they “will further reduce traffic congestion and carbon monoxide emissions,” the flaws are causing major issues.
Scooters are often left on the sidewalk or street corners, causing unsafe conditions for pedestrians who are using those sidewalks.
There are currently few, if any, dedicated sidewalks or roadways for these types of vehicles.
This can make traveling along with cars and trucks even more dangerous.
In the year 2018, The National Association of City Transportation Officials issued a report which shows that as many as 84 million people used scooter or similar modes of transportation.
That is double the number reported in the previous year.
The sales of e-bikes, which are similar to the scooters, are expected to be as much as $24.3 billion by the year 2025.
With this sharp rise in popularity, there is a great need for a better design in infrastructure to accompany these e-travelers.
Some Cities See Scooters as a Nuisance
As the popularity of these scooters continues to grow, the aggravation to city officials and other travelers in the city has grown with it.
Many municipalities and communities have shared their concerns that these small modes of transportation might be more trouble than they are good.
With millions of people riding e-scooters, there will be a need for dedicated traffic lanes for them to give their drivers a safer place to travel.
Better parking options will also be needed to avoid the scooters simply being left on the sidewalk when the battery dies, or someone reaches their destination.
Batteries that die quickly is another problem with these scooters that is being addressed.
Having the scooter simply stop working unexpectedly could also cause a danger to its occupant.
The person could easily fall over, be hit by someone behind them, or become stranded in an unexpected location.
Heavier models may be able to carry more weight, but they are also more likely to have their batteries die quickly.
It is also harder for these models to make it up steep hills.
More Safety Measures are Needed
An article from Consumer Reports shares that improved safety measures are needed for the riders of e-scooters.
Some cities have even banned the scooters in an effort to keep people safe and cut back on risks to the city.
Another Consumer Report article shows that at least 8 people had died from injuries sustained while riding an e-scooter, and their investigation showed that those who ride these scooters have no idea what the traffic laws are concerning them, or if there are any traffic laws for scooters at all.
Studies show that most of those who ride scooters do not wear helmets, which contributes to a large number of head injuries.
A medical student at the UCSF School of Medicine, Nikan K. Namiri is a co-author of one of these studies and shares, “We strongly believe that helmets should be worn, and e-scooter manufacturers should encourage helmet use by making them more easily accessible.”
The study goes on to say that the sharp increase in emergency calls for scooter riders is enough by itself to warrant stronger safety measures and regulations.
More safety measures and regulations are needed from manufacturers and more laws from cities and municipalities to help cut down on e-scooter-related injuries and deaths.
While the convenience of a scooter that you can rent via a mobile app is very beneficial, and the benefits to the environment could be great as well, those benefits may not be worth the risk to human life.
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