Electric scooters have made their way into more than 100 cities across the world, including many Southern California cities. Companies like Lime and Bird are taking the transportation world by storm. In 2018, there were more than 38 million electric scooter rides across the United States.
Electric scooters may seem like an easy and affordable option for transportation, but it is not without risk. Some research suggests that the electric scooter boom is actually responsible for increasing rates of pedestrian accidents.
Data from UCLA and hospitals in Santa Monica show the following data among electric scooter riders:
· 249 emergency room visits (September 2017 and August 2018). These visits included injuries, such as:
o Head injuries
o Soft tissue injuries
o Lung contusions
· Of those injured, 8.4% were pedestrians, not scooter operators.
Scooter operators are not pedestrians. Like any vehicle operator, operating a scooter can be dangerous if they collide with someone walking on foot. Scooter accidents are responsible for a significant number of injuries each year.
Research from the University of California suggests:
· Between 2014 and 2018 there were 40,000 emergency room visits related to scooters.
· From 2014 to 2018, the scooter injury rate increased from 6 injuries per 100,000 people to 19 injuries per 100,000 people.
· Most scooter-related injuries occur among people 18-34.
With the number of pedestrian accidents related to electric scooters increasing, safety officials urge caution. Generally, electric scooters are not considered a public health emergency, safety officials do recognize that there is room to improve safety. Most people injured in accidents while operating a scooter were not wearing a helmet. Pedestrians who were injured often tripped over discarded scooters or were struck by a moving scooter. Electric scooters can travel at 15 miles-per-hour, which is enough speed to cause severe injuries if a scooter collides with a pedestrian.
Unfortunately, electric scooters are so new that there is little consistent research to suggest whether they are directly contributing to accident rates. Current research indeed indicates a link, but more research is needed. If you have been involved in an electric scooter accident in Los Angeles or Orange County, call Guldjian and Fasel today for a free consultation.