Electric scooter-related injuries jumped 222% between 2014 and 2018, study finds

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SAN FRANCISCO -- As electric scooters become increasingly ubiquitous in cities, so are scooter-related injuries, one study reports.

A study out of the University of California, San Francisco published Wednesday in JAMA Surgery found that the number of scooter-related injuries in the country between 2014 and 2018 grew by 222% to more than 39,000 injuries. Meanwhile, the number of hospital admissions went up by 365% to nearly 3,300.

There was a dramatic jump of injuries between 2017 and 2018, according to the study. In 2017, there were 8,016 injuries. The following year, there were 14,651.

It also found that a third of the patients had head trauma, double the rate of injuries bicyclists face.

Benjamin Breyer, a senior author on the study, called the high proportion of head injuries "very dangerous" in a statement.

"The near doubling of e-scooter trauma from 2017 to 2018 indicates that there should be better rider safety measures and regulation," he said.

Among the thousands of injuries that occurred during the four-year period, researchers found that the most common injuries were fractures -- which made up 27% of injuries. Contusions and abrasions, at 23%, and lacerations, at 14%, made up the top three most common injuries.

Head injuries were one of the most common areas for injury -- with 4,658 head injuries occurring in 2018 alone. It was outnumbered only by injuries to the lower extremity, which had 4,707 cases.

But the high number of head injuries is still concerning. "E-scooter companies should facilitate and encourage helmet use by increasing helmet access," the study reports.

E-scooters have become a controversial subject in recent months. Though some see them as an easy way to travel around cities, they've come with issues, too.

One issue is that the scooters can be left lying anywhere, causing problems for pedestrians and even drivers.

Scooters have been banned from sidewalks in both France and Singapore -- the latter after a cyclist died when colliding with an e-scooter. In the UK, scooters are banned from all public roads, sidewalks and cycle lanes.

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