Major cities around the world have been flooded by a tidal wave of electronic scooters that have provoked reactions of delight and disgust in equal measure. They have proven a viable and clean alternative to the automobile in many urban areas but they have been criticized for clogging up the pavement. That's especially true in Paris where riders using the sidewalk and discarded e-scooters resulted in extra fines. San Francisco went one step futher and banned them.
Safety is the biggest concern though and a new study published in JAMA Surgery has found that the United States experienced a surge in injuries due to e-scooter use. It documented 4,583 injuries in 2014, a number that increased to 14,641 in 2018. During the same period, the age-adjusted injury rate climbed from 6 incidents per 100,000 people to 19 per 100,000 people, a 222 percent increase. Hospital visits also soared 365 percent. Those massive increases are probably not too surprising given the scale of the e-scooter boom across the U.S. but the data is worrying for one key reason - only five percent of those injured wore a helmet at the time.
Nearly a third of all patients incurred a head injury, double the rate experienced by cyclists. People in the 18 to 34 age bracket are most likely to be injured riding e-scooters and their hospital admissions skyrocketed 354 percent between 2014 and 2018. Nearly 40,000 people required treatment due to an e-scooter accident during those four years.