Electric scooters are the newest craze in California, providing a cheaper and more accessible alternative to taxis or auto rideshare services like Uber and Lyft for short distances. E-scooters from rideshare companies like Bird and Lime are popping up all over California, particularly in big metropolitan areas like San Francisco and Los Angeles. But the scooters are not as harmless as they seem. Researchers have begun looking into the rate of injuries caused by these relatively new devices, and the results are alarming. Read on for details about the dangers of e-scooters, and contact a seasoned Southern California personal injury attorney if you or a loved one has been injured in an e-scooter accident.
Studies find e-scooter injuries present serious health risk
UCLA just released a new study on the public health impact of e-scooters, focusing on the Los Angeles area where such scooters are very prevalent. UCLA reviewed the records of two LA-area emergency rooms and found that there were significantly more emergency room visits in LA over a one-year period involving e-scooter riders than there were for pedestrians or cyclists. There were 249 emergency room visits for e-scooter riders at the two emergency rooms surveyed, compared to only 181 pedestrians and 195 bikers. The majority (80%) of the injuries were caused by falls, while another 11% were caused by collision with an object. The remaining nine percent of accidents involved being struck by a moving vehicle such as a car, bike, or other scooter. Researchers were quick to emphasize that these numbers drastically underestimate the number of e-scooter injuries as they only surveyed two hospitals, with a focus on the causes and types of injuries rather than on the total number of people injured.
Researchers noted one of the major contributing factors to the emergency room visits was the lack of helmet usage among scooter riders; only 4.4% of the riders admitted had been wearing helmets while riding. As a result, head injuries were most common, while fractures, bruises, and sprains were close behind. Although regulations require the use of helmets while riding the scooters, the companies do not provide helmets along with the scooters, and riders very rarely bring their own. The reason for this is self-evident: the convenience of e-scooters comes from being able to pick them up at any time while on the street, without having to plan ahead. People leaving the beach or a bar are obviously not going to stop by home to get a helmet before jumping on a scooter, nor are they likely to carry a helmet with them everywhere they go.
Consumer Reports likewise gathered data from hospital emergency rooms across the country and found at least 1,500 injuries were connected to e-scooter usage since late 2017. Researchers noted that many hospitals are not yet tracking e-scooter injuries, so the numbers may actually be much higher. The injuries include severe fractures as well as traumatic brain injuries, many of which were life-threatening. The fact that speeds top out at 15 miles per hour does not stop their danger when people are riding them without helmets and in roadways along with cars and motorcycles.
If you have been hurt in a Southern California electric scooter accident or other motor vehicle accident, call Hanning & Sacchetto, LLP at 562-698-6446 for a free consultation with our experienced and successful personal injury attorneys.