Chances are you’ve either seen riders or have ridden on an electric scooter in recent years. They’re the brightly colored vehicles that now flock downtown street corners and have riders buzzing across intersections. Since 2016, electric scooter (or e-scooter) startups such as Lime and Bird have taken cities across the nation by storm. Available to rent via an app, e-scooters are an easily accessible and inexpensive alternative for those looking to avoid traffic, rideshares or driving, or simply just want to cruise around their city. While e-scooters seem harmless, they have already racked up reports of causing serious injuries and deaths since hitting the streets.
Similar to the new legal headaches rideshare accidents have created, e-scooters have begun to bring up road safety concerns and other emerging issues. Over a four-year period, researchers at the University of California – San Francisco compiled a study published in JAMA Surgery regarding emergency room and hospital admission cases involving e-scooters. The study found e-scooter injuries increased dramatically by 222% from 2014 to 2018. In particular, scooter injuries spiked 83% from 2017 to 2018, when reported injuries increased from 8,016 to 14,651. Of the serious injuries reported over the surveyed four-year period, researchers found over 40,000 broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and deep cuts and lacerations to be common among e-scooter injury victims.
Common Injuries Associated with E-Scooters
While e-scooters can provide a fun change of pace when it comes to traversing city streets, they are still motorized vehicles with the capability to inflict serious injuries and even death. One concern that has been raised is the lack of helmets for riders to utilize. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Austin Public Health Department surveyed 192 accidents related to the 14,000 e-scooters available around the city and found half of all accidents resulted in head trauma or injury – and of those, a victim was wearing a helmet in only one case. The complexities of supplying helmets for dockless scooters that can be picked up and dropped off wherever the rider chooses waves a red flag that e-scooter startups are not taking necessary actions to keep riders safe while using their services and vehicles.
In addition to lack of protections, riders must also face similar obstacles to those who ride bicycles through the city. Historically, infrastructure across the country has not been accommodating to pedestrians and/or bicyclists. In Houston, a lack of properly designated bike lanes, safe crosswalks, and sidewalks keeps alternative transportation methods from becoming more mainstream. On average, most cyclist- and pedestrian-related car accidents are caused by a vehicle driver’s error in failing to either:
- Give the right-of-way
- Yield to pedestrians and cyclists
- Stay within their own lane
- Maintain safe distance from cyclists
- Fail to see cyclists or pedestrians due to blind spots or failure to properly look out
When cities allow new modes of transportation – such as e-scooters equipped to travel at an average maximum speed of 15 mph – they must take into account the safety of riders and those around them by planning safe routes for those who choose to ride. Additionally, coming into contact with road hazards, such as unmaintained potholes and large cracks in pavement, contributed to riders losing control of their scooters, resulting in severe injury.
Common injuries associated with e-scooter accidents include but are not limited to:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
- Burns (road rash)
In the most serious accidents, collisions on scooters resulted in deaths. So far since 2018, e-scooters have caused or contributed to at least 29 deaths worldwide, according to a Quartz analysis of accident records.
Texas Electric Scooter Accident Attorneys
E-Scooters can be an enjoyable experience when riders are given a safe way to ride, including access to helmets, bike lanes, sidewalks, and crosswalks, in addition to passenger vehicle drivers driving responsibility. With the gray area surrounding e-scooter accidents, it’s important to have trusted, seasoned personal injury attorneys on your side to ensure you’re being compensated fairly for your injuries.