Over the past few years, the popularity of rentable electric scooters or e-scooters has increased dramatically. As a new, seemingly fun method of transportation, pedestrians looking to ride for leisure or bypass a trip on a Metro bus or rideshare vehicle have turned to renting Lime and Bird scooters to get them from point A to point B. While scooters do have benefits – including the ease of the rental itself – they are more dangerous than riders realize, already causing hundreds of serious injuries and even deaths since their widespread adoption in cities across the country.
Danger By The Numbers
Currently, it’s estimated that there are nearly 65,000 electric scooters available for rental across the country. This means e-scooters are just as accessible as the opportunity to be injured while riding on them. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of e-scooter accidents in Austin, Texas between September and November 2018 provided a clear snapshot of associated injuries.
During the limited timeframe, 271 persons were identified as e-scooter accident victims, and of those around 190 were riding an e-scooter at the time of their injury. This alone shows that an electric scooter – like any other motorized vehicle – can seriously injure pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers. Nearly half (46%) of e-scooter injuries sustained while riding were head-related, including traumatic brain injuries, skull fractures, lacerations, and abrasions to the head area. Because e-scooter rental companies neither provide nor require the use of a helmet to ride, the CDC study found only 4.4% of accident victims were wearing proper safety protection at the time of the accident. As a head and/or brain injury is among the most severe and life altering injuries a person could sustain, the extremely low incidence of helmet use by riders is shocking and worrisome.
In addition to accident victims suffering severe head injuries, 84% suffered fractures, 45% suffered nerve, tendon, or ligament injuries, and about 8% required a stay longer than 48 hours in a hospital. While a leisurely ride may sound fun, high-speed scooters have the potential to leave riders and those around them with painful injuries that require extensive medical care.
Common Causes: Crashes of Electric Scooters
E-scooter accidents can have a variety of causes. While an accident can occur for one of many reasons, the majority of e-scooter accident victims were injured due to the following common causes:
- Falls were responsible for nearly 80% of e-scooter accident-related injuries. Surprising to most riders, e-scooters can reach speeds near 20 mph. For a rider, many of whom lack driving experience, this can be extremely hard to control, and even the slightly sidewalk crack or debris can cause a rider to fall from their scooter at a high speed.
- Collisions with objects were to be blame for around 11% of injuries, once again shining light on the difficulty of controlling e-scooters. Due to the lack of driving and safety education and training on electric scooters, almost all riders are left in the dark regarding its design and abilities. Bulky and requiring a rider to stand, e-scooters are unpredictable and many times unable to sustain any level of impact or collision with another object. A foreign object in an e-scooter’s path can cause the rider to lose control, leading to a crash.
- Car-related e-scooter accidents are unfortunately almost as common as those involving a stationary street object or debris. Because of their speed, e-scooters are commonly ridden on the same roads as motor vehicles. A lack of available and adequate cyclist and pedestrian safety infrastructure – like metered crosswalks and designated bike lanes – can leave e-scooter riders just as susceptible to reckless motor vehicle drivers.
Houston E-Scooter Accident Attorneys
Regardless of the dangers electric scooters pose, rentals are not going anywhere anytime soon. As their popularity continues to increase, so will scooter-related accidents. Rental companies and manufacturers have a responsibility to riders and their communities to educate the public and address the lack of personal protective equipment provided to riders. If you or a loved one has been injured in an e-scooter accident, contact the Houston personal injury trial attorneys at Adame Garza today to discuss your case at no cost.