Those rentable electric scooters are showing up in cities across the country. While there has been anecdotal evidence of injured riders seeking treatment in emergency rooms, there is a new study from Southern California that takes a quantifiable look at the risk and damage. The study finds that there were 249 visits to the ER between September 1, 2017, and August 31, 2018.
Types of injuries
Considering the nature of the scooter, there are few surprises here:
- Bone fractures
- Lung contusions
- Soft tissue injury
- Splenic laceration
Common causes for the injuries
Ninety-one percent of the injuries resulted in one of the following causes:
- Rider fell off the scooter
- Rider collided with an object
- Rider was struck by a motor vehicle
It should be noted that 8.4 percent of the injuries involved pedestrians hit by the scooters, tripped over parked on the sidewalk, or injured themselves while trying to lift the scooter. Safety advocates will likely be alarmed by the fact that only 4.4 percent of the injured were wearing a helmet. While there have been instances of fatalities in other cities, there were none in this study. There were, however, two injuries that placed the patient in the intensive care unit. Considering that motor vehicle accidents kill 40,000 people annually in the U.S. and another 5,000 deaths involve motorcycles, those 249 injuries are low.
How dangerous are these scooters?
During that same period, the same two hospitals admitted 195 bicycle-related injuries – for the sake of comparison, the National Highway Safety Administration data indicates there were 45,000 bicycle injuries due to crashes nationally in 2015.
Scooter injury numbers will go up with increased usage. While many of the injuries are a result of rider error, that eight percent of injuries involving being hit by a rider or tripping over a parked scooter does pose danger to victims out there. Of course, riders are not always at fault either, so riders involved in collisions with motor vehicles will likely suffer serious injuries.
Those involved in collisions and injuries as a rider or a pedestrian should seek medical treatment, just as those 249 people did in California. Depending on the circumstances of the crash, it may be appropriate to seek damages from the negligent party. An experienced personal injury attorney can be helpful in guiding victims and their families through this process.