Aug. 31 (UPI) — Nearly 30,000 e-scooter riders visited emergency rooms across the United States in 2019 after sustaining injuries on the two-wheeled vehicles, a study published Monday by JAMA Network Open found.
In addition, more than 70,000 trips to ERs nationally were linked with e-scooter use over a six-year period between 2014 and last year, the data showed.
ER visits among e-scooter users have increased every year since 2014, when just under 5,000 were reported, the researchers said.
Children weren’t the only accident victims. More than 10,000 young adults, ages 25 to 39, went to the ER as a result of scooter-related injuries in 2019, the researchers said.
“I’m all for anything that moves people away from driving cars, but these e-scooters can be dangerous when they aren’t used safely,” study co-author Dr. Eric R. Wagner told UPI.
“With use of ride-share services exploding in many cities across the country, it’s not uncommon to see people on scooters or bicycles weaving in and out of traffic or among pedestrians on sidewalks, and many serious injuries occur as a result,” said Wagner, an orthopedic surgeon at Emory Health in Atlanta.
In cities across the United States, people made an estimated 136 million trips in 2019 using short-term scooter rentals like Lime and bicycle rentals like Citibike, according to the National Association of City Transportation Officials.
For this study, Wagner and colleagues analyzed data on e-scooter use and ER visits between 2014 and 2019 from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s national electronic injury surveillance system.
Of the 29,628 ER visits linked with e-scooter use in 2019, 8,113 involved fractured bones, while 4,262 were for traumatic brain injuries or concussions, the researchers estimated. The head was the most common site of injury, at 27%, the data showed.
About 9% of those who visited the ER for e-scooter-related injuries last year admitted they used alcohol or drugs before their accidents, the researchers said.
“We hope that officials in cities see our data and enact common-sense safety measures for scooter riders, making helmets mandatory, placing restrictions on speeds and setting up dedicated areas, like bike lanes, for their use,” Wagner said.
“Scooters are a great way to get around, but we need to pay more attention to safety.”