E-scooters are a common sight in major metro areas and are helping redefine the way we navigate our cities. But while they’re being embraced in urban locales across the country, there’s real reason to be concerned about the impact on safety. E-scooter accidents have increased dramatically in recent years and, as more cities sign on with sharable scooter programs, they’re not likely to go away.
If you plan on riding an e-scooter or will be seeing them around, you’ll need to do your part to exercise caution and prioritize safety in order to stay injury-free.
Knowing the facts and a few safety tips can help.
Injuries Rise as E-Scooters Take Hold
In 2018, Americans took over 84 million trips on micromobility devices, with nearly half of those on shared electric scooters. Given the increase in ridership and sharable scooter programs, experts project the market for e-scooter services to reach at least $12 billion by 2025.
But while e-scooter ridership has grown, so have rates of accidents and injuries. According to the CPSC:
- Between 2017 and 2019, there were roughly 133,000 ER visits associated with micromobility devices, much of which is attributable to a sharp increase in e-scooter ER visits.
- ER visits involving e-scooters rose from 7,700 in 2017 to 14,500 in 2018 and to 27,000 in 2019.
Another study from Henry Ford Health Systems based on CPSC data found that e-scooter injury rates began to spike in 2017 when e-scooter rideshare programs first debuted. In fact, the study found that since 2017, the incidence of total injuries significantly increased by over 3 times.
Given the concerning data, public health officials are paying more attention to e-scooter safety and launching programs like the CPSC’s E-scooter PSA to help consumers understand important safety measures the law as it applies to scooters.
In NYC, where e-scooters are allowed, there are a few important rules:
- You cannot operate an e-scooter over 15 mph.
- E-scooters can ride in bike lanes and streets with speed limits under 30 mph.
- You cannot ride e-scooters on sidewalks.
- Helmets are required for 16 and 17-year-old riders.
Common Injuries Associated with E-Scooter Accidents
E-scooters offer no protection to riders and a fairly steep learning curve for those who’ve never used one before. The result is increased risks for all types of serious injuries. Some of the most common include:
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
- Neck injuries
- Contusions and abrasions
According to the CPSC, head and neck injuries comprise nearly a third of all e-scooter injuries treated in the ER, as well as many of the 41 micromobility fatalities recorded from 2017 to 2019.
How to Avoid Injury on E-Scooters
E-scooter accidents happen for a variety of reasons, but safety research shows most are attributed to falls, collisions with motor vehicles, road hazards, mechanical problems, and distraction.
If you plan on riding an electric scooter, there are some steps to reduce injury risks:
- Always wear a helmet.
- Wear appropriate clothing that doesn’t restrict your movement while riding.
- Understand the features and capabilities of the e-scooter you’re riding.
- Obey traffic laws (i.e., not riding on the sidewalk).
- Focus on the path ahead and watch for pedestrians, vehicles, and obstacles.
- Avoid distractions and riding under the influence.
Steps to Take Following an Accident
While safety precautions can help riders avoid injury, they can’t eliminate all risks – including those created by people who are negligent. If you’re involved in an e-scooter accident, your actions can make a difference both for your health and your right to bring legal action.
- Call 911 to ensure you and anyone injured receives medical treatment and that a law enforcement officer responds to take a report.
- Exchange insurance and contact information with all involved parties and witnesses.
- Take photos of the scene, property damage, and surrounding area for an attorney to evaluate at a later time.
- If you can, try to preserve the scooter or make sure that law enforcement does. An attorney can help you preserve evidence for use in a potential case.
- Listen to your doctor and continue treating your injuries. Don’t try to tough it out.
- Remember that you don’t have to speak with the insurance company. An attorney can handle correspondence with insurance carriers on your behalf and represent your interests in recovering needed compensation.
After a preventable accident, your top priority is your health. To help with your recovery, the negligent parties may be held liable for your medical bills and related damages, including lost income and pain and suffering. An experienced lawyer can review your case and discuss your options.
At The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., our NYC attorneys have been fighting for the injured for nearly 40 years. We serve clients across all five boroughs and beyond and are available to discuss potential cases during a FREE consultation.