Just last month, another study was published in the American Journal of Otolaryngology, which found that the head and facial injuries of scooters – including electric scooters – have tripled in the last decade.
The jury is not yet sure how safe scooters are compared to other means of transport such as cars, motorcycles and motorcycles. One thing is clear: many of the injuries suffered by scooter fans are completely preventable.
"Scooters are great fun and can be part of a networked public transport system in the city," says Dr. Beth Ebel, who heads the Safe and Active Transportation Department at the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center in Seattle. But "helmets and safe places for scooters without getting into traffic are the key."
Below, we summarize what the research shows, how and why people hurt themselves on scooters, and what you can do to keep your skin and bones intact.
Problem: Head Injuries
In studies from the University of California at Los Angeles and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the researchers found that head injuries such as brain hemorrhage and concussion accounted for nearly half of all reported injuries.
Solution: Wear a helmet.
Helmets protect against a variety of head injuries. Wearing helmets would prevent most scooter injuries, the CDC said. "The biggest problem, besides that, is the failure to wear a helmet," says Ebel. "As I discuss with families on the trauma unit, there are who have a helmet and use a helmet we can fix your broken arm or wrist, but not your brain."
If you do not have a helmet yet, scooter companies like Bird and Lime are committed to passing it on to drivers. Wear a helmet in your office or attach it to the backpack. If you are averse to the idea of lugging around, give collapsible cycle helmets a chance.
Problem: Influenza Scanning
Both CDC and UCLA researchers found that drinking may have played a role in scooter user injuries. In the CDC study, one-third of respondents said they drank alcohol 12 hours before the injury.
Solution: Find Alternative Transportation
Driving a scooter instead of a car is not necessarily safer – and yes, you can still get a DUI. "Drinking and riding a scooter exposes you (and others) to the risk of death or injury," says Ebel. "Call for a ride or go on foot to public transportation".
Problem: Tandem Rides
When UCLA researchers settled on a street corner three times to watch the users of scooters, they discovered, among other things, tandem drivers, including parent-child couples.
Movie Stars Solution: Scoot Solo
The "share" in the scooter release is not an invitation to double. On ordinary electric scooters, there is not enough room for two people, says Ebel, and nothing that the second person can cling to. It is also worth noting that most scooters have a weight limit of around 220 pounds. So if you are injured while tandem, you should plan to be held accountable.
Problem: Ruthless Driving
Eighty percent of people in the UCLA study were injured by falls. In the CDC study, 10% of injured drivers collided with a car, another 10% collided on a curb and 7% encountered a lifeless object, such as a light pole.
Solution: Plan in advance.
That's a big problem. The regulations for scooters vary from city to city. So it's up to you to know the rules.
If you are not allowed on the sidewalk, stay in the street. If you drive next to the traffic, use hand signals. Wear reflective clothing and bring a backpack if you need to carry something.
If you hang a bag on the handlebar or on a shoulder, you may be out of balance. And, adds Ebel, "stay away from your * &% ^! Phone while driving." If you need to check your navigation, move over.
Problem: Defective scooters
There have been several reports of scooter malfunctioning from battery fires to speed control problems. Some complaints led to litigation.
Solution: Perform a security check before boarding.
Before entering the vehicle, visually inspect by walking around the scooter, looking for signs of damage or abnormal wear. The wheels should be tuned and provide enough power for lights and batteries. Test the brakes and throttle at the beginning of your journey. If you find problems, Ebel says, call customer service and get another scooter.
Problem: novice driver
Among the scooter injuries analyzed by the CDC, one-third occurred during the first user's ride.
Solution: Take a test drive.
Just because you are a scooter as a child or are currently a cyclist does not mean that you are a natural electric scooter.
"Scooters forgive ridges, bumps and holes less than bikes because the wheels are smaller," says Ebel. "It's a good idea to practice a bit in an empty parking lot or in the open field before you drive off."
After reading the provided safety instructions (they should be included in the scooter's app or on its website), you will practice how to start and stop obstacles, accelerate and slow down and maneuver around them. "Keep your knees a little bent," Ebel suggests for more stability.
Problem: lazy discarded scooters
This is not so much about protecting yourself, but about taking care of others.
Solution: Limit your scooter.
"It's especially important to think about where to turn off the scooter," says Ebel.
At the end of a ride, keep the scooter upright and away from pedestrians (especially wheelchair users) or oncoming traffic of any kind. This means that sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, bus stops, driveways or service ramps should be considered no parking zones.