The E-scooter trend has been sweeping cities across the country. Companies like Lime and Bird allow users to rent scooters via cellphone app and then leave the scooters almost anywhere when they arrive at their destination. Most companies rent the scooters for an initial fee of about $1 and then add a few cents on for every minute.
For many urban dwellers, E-scooters seem like a godsend – an easy way to avoid driving to a place that is just out of walking range. But with the scooters comes danger. A new study from Consumer Reports shows that E-scooters have led to at least eight deaths and 1,500 injuries.
Inexperience, infrastructure to blame
Since E-scooters are relatively new, most riders have limited experience riding them. A study by the city of Austin, Texas, found that a third of injured riders were on their first trip, and about 63 percent had ridden less than 10 times.
Additionally, while California state law requires E-scooter riders to use the street, not the sidewalk, roads aren’t designed with scooters in mind. Many roads do not have bike lanes where scooter riders could travel safely, and others have potholes that are difficult for E-scooters to navigate.
E-scooter injuries, accidents by the numbers
While deaths remain uncommon on E-scooters, other injuries happen much more often. The University of California Los Angeles studied E-scooter injuries that led to emergency room visits in Southern California and analyzed the data. The study examined 249 patients, and these were the results:
- Only 4.4 percent of riders wore helmets
- 91.6 percent of injuries were to riders and 8.4 percent to pedestrians
- 27.7 percent suffered cuts, sprains, or bruises
- 40.2 percent had fractured bones
- 31.7 percent had head trauma
- A fall caused 80.2 percent of injuries
- 11 percent collided with an object
- A moving vehicle hit 8.8 percent of riders