In just over the course of a few short years, electric scooters have quickly filled up many major American cities with Dallas finally joining in on the trend last summer. These venture-funded companies seemingly appeared overnight and filled a void that did not previously exist much like their automobile counterparts, Uber and Lyft. E-scooters, as they are more commonly known as, give users an efficient mode of transportation around major cities. These scooters are often used by many young people purely for recreational purposes with many just riding them in public places for fun instead of using it to travel.
These e-scooters are also very easy to begin operating as all you need is a smartphone plus their mobile app to use. Pay a small up-front fee plus fees for the time used and distance traveled, and you are good to go. However, with all new technologies come unknown dangers, and e-scooters are no exception.
Unprecedented Dangers of Electric Scooters
When Lime, Bird, and other e-scooter companies began dumping their products into major cities, they operated with the mentality of producing a service and asking questions later. This way of business comes with a number of unwarranted dangers. While there is little to no official numbers of e-scooter accidents, there have still been fatal accidents that have been reported all around the world in Los Angeles, London, Singapore, and even Dallas. Due to their increasing popularity among young people and the increasing number of incidents, researchers finally began studies on this new phenomenon. Researchers at the University of California Los Angeles conducted a study over a series of cases of patients who came into two emergency departments who claimed to have sustained their injuries riding e-scooters. Their work was published in the medical journal JAMA Network Open. Their study lasted from September 1, 2017, to August 31, 2018, and included 249 patients. Here are their findings:
- 8% were younger than 18
- 4% reported wearing a helmet
- 6% injured were riders
- 8% had a BAC greater than 0.05%
- Most common injuries:
- Head Injuries (40.2%)
- Fractures (31.7%)
- Soft-tissue injuries (27.7%)
An alarming statistic from this study is the percent of users who did not wear a helmet. While the companies of these scooters do recommend that riders wear proper safety gear, there is no way for them to actively patrol whether their users actually follow this rule. The fact that the most common injury sustained is a head injury is no coincidence.
Riders of scooters are not the only individuals who are in danger though. Regular pedestrians who walk the sidewalks and other public areas are also in danger of being injured by inexperienced or careless riders. Although these scooters aren’t considered fast, their average speed of 10 mph can still put riders and pedestrians at greater risk for injury.
Practicing Safe Riding
There are currently over 65,000 e-scooters in rotation all across the country with more on the way. The number of accidents is sure to be on the rise as well. While you can’t control other people’s actions, you can control your own. There are a number of ways to ensure your own and other’s safety.
- Wear a helmet
- Learn how to properly operate one
- Remain alert and aware of your surroundings
- Obey traffic laws
It doesn’t look like e-scooters will be going away anytime soon, and that also means that the risk for injury remains. Due to their fairly new existence, the precedence set for how to operate an e-scooter and how to react following an accident is still very unknown with many not having much information available. If you or a loved one have been injured following an accident involving an e-scooter, contact the committed and experienced team at Rad Law Firm, and let us help you navigate this difficult time.