New study shows how dangerous electric scooters really are

A new study found one in three riders were injured on their first ride, while nearly half of all electric scoot injuries involve head trauma.

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Be smart the next time you ride an electric scooter.

The popular dockless, two-wheeled machines are popping up across cities around the world, and while they offer an accessible — and fun — way to see the sights, it turns out electric scooters are pretty dangerous.


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A new study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found one in three riders were injured on their first ride, while nearly half of all electric scoot injuries involve head trauma due to riders not wearing helmets.

Researchers examined 271 people with potential scooter-related injuries between September through November 2018 in Austin, TX. The report, which combined 160 confirmed injuries and 32 probable injuries, found that 48% of those 190 injured riders experienced head injuries.

Seventy percent of riders suffered injuries to upper limbs which included injuries to the hands, wrist, arms, and shoulders. 55% experienced lower limb injuries while 18% were injured in the chest/abdomen region.

Almost half of the injured riders in the report suffered severe injury. Severe injury, according to the National Transportation Safety Board, is an injury that requires hospitalization for more than 48 hours, bone fractures, organ damage, or bleeding.

Head case

While half of the riders contributed poor road conditions as reasons for their injuries, more than a third reported scooter speeds as the reason for their crash.

Alarmingly, only one of the 190 injured riders was wearing a helmet at the time of the injury, according to the CDC.

“These injuries may have been preventable,” the study concludes. “Studies have shown that bicycle riders reduce the risk of head and brain injuries by wearing a helmet. Helmet use might also reduce the risk of head and brain injuries in the event of an e-scooter crash.”

Other studies have warned of the safety risks of riding electric scooters, but that hasn’t meant much to riders in the US.

38.5 million trips were taken on shared scooters in 2018, according to the National Association of City Transportation Officials.


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Kyle Schnitzer|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at kschnitzer@theladders.com.