Accidents with E-Scooters, E-Bikes, Hoverboards Linked to Steady Rising Number of ER Visits: CPSC

Emergency room visits caused by accidents involving e-scooters, e-bikes, hoverboards and other “micromobility” products have increased by at least 70% since 2017, according to a new federal report.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a press release on September 30, warning consumers to exercise increased caution with rental scooters, bikes and so-called hoverboards, as demand for the products is expected to rise as the COVID-19 pandemic begins to wane.

The agency indicates that the numbers of serious injuries and emergency room visits involving micromobility products have been steadily rising over the past four years; increasing from 34,000 in 2017 to 57,800 in 2020. Much of that increase was due to the use of e-scooters, used by services like Lime and Bird, which rose from 7,700 emergency room visits in 2017, to 25,400 in 2020, according to the CPSC

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Among the injuries are at least 71 deaths linked to scooters, bikes and hoverboards from 2017 to 2020, as well as a large number of severe bone fractures and traumatic head injuries.

Since 2017, e-scooter, e-bike, and hoverboard rentals have become increasingly popular, especially among city residents, allowing individuals to easily use the electric vehicles for quick transportation that is accessed through a smartphone app. However, riders typically are not experienced in operating the vehicles and fail to wear helmets or other protective gear, increasing the risk of serious injury in an e-scooter accident.

In a recent study, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) interviewed 105 adults treated at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C., between March and November 2019, who sustained an injury while riding an e-scooter. Interviewers collected data from participants on the location and circumstances which caused the e-scooter crash injuries to identify potential trends. Patient charts were abstracted to document their injuries and treatment along with participant responses.

E-scooter injuries were found to occur most frequently on sidewalks; accounting for 58% of study participants. Of these reports, many involved riders either crashing into pedestrians, or swerving away from pedestrians. Researchers claimed that while the injuries are of lower severity on sidewalks, sharing sidewalks with slower moving pedestrians could potentially lead to more accidents.

A number of e-scooter lawsuits have also been filed against Bird, Lime and other companies renting the vehicles, claiming the scooters are being dropped on the nation’s streets without adequate warnings, instructions or safety measures that could reduce the risk of injury.

Other the past few years, the CPSC has issued several e-scooter warnings, encouraging riders to wear protective equipment, such as helmets and hand or wrist guards, and urging them to avoid risky maneuvers or traveling at high speeds.

The CPSC also called for riders to inspect any micro mobility product before using it by closely examining the handlebars, brakes, throttle, bell, lights, tires, cables and frame. If the vehicle is damaged, it could result in a malfunction of the product and an injury.

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