Who Gets Injured on a Scooter?
Electric scooters are great fun, but are they safe?
A new study looked at Emergency Room medical records to see who gets injured, how riders get injured, and where riders get injured.
They found that most people who got injured were the riders themselves. (91.6% vs 8.4% of non-riders) Most of the injured riders were younger adults between ages 18 and 40. These are likely the target demographic for these scooters, which are often rented out by tech companies such as Lyft and Bird.
Since this study only looked at riders who got injured rather than riders as a whole, we do not know whether any particular ages are more likely to be injured.
What are Bird/Lyft Scooters?
Bystander Injuries from Scooters
Some who went to the ED were bystanders who were injured by a scooter, including people hit by scooters and people who tripped on scooters. These patients were much more likely to be older adults.
Kids and young adults on the other hand were rarely injured as non-riders by a scooter. One possibility is that older adults may have less reaction time to an out-of-control scooter barreling down the sidewalk, whereas kids can easily jump out of the way.
How Scooter Riders get Injured
Riders who came into the Emergency Department were most commonly injured by a fall of some type. As with any new type of transportation method, it's understandable that a few may fall on their first few rides. Scooters are easier to learn than a bike, but they can still be risky.
11% of riders had collided with a stationary object. 8.8% collided with a moving object, most likely a car or truck.
Where Scooter Riders get Injured
Nearly half of all injuries were head and face injuries. As most riders were injured in a fall, this is understandable.
13% were hand and wrist injuries. These may have occurred as riders try to brace themselves as they fall. Arm and and leg injuries were less common.
While serious injuries were relatively rare, they did happen. 5/249 patients had intracranial hemorrhages. 2 patients were admitted to the intensive care unit.
What is an Intracranial Hemorrhage?
Lyft/Bird Scooters are a great way to get around the city. They're fun, fast, and environmentally friendly. As a descriptive study, these data cannot show how safe or dangerous scooters are. But, they do provide an interesting first look into where and how people get injured.
If you do choose to ride a scooter, be sure to wear a helmet! Over 90% of riders in this study were not wearing a helmet at the time of their injury. Meanwhile, most injuries were to the head and the face.