E-scooters: many injured are on their first ride

  • Austin Public Health

  • de Jenny Blair, MD
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • Injuries relating to rentable dockless electric scooters (e-scooters) frequently involve inexperienced riders, excessive speeds, and lack of helmet.  
  • Authors recommend education on safe riding, including helmets and safe speed.

Why this matters

  • Data are just emerging on e-scooter public health effects.

Key results

  • 936,110 e-scooter trips included.
  • 190 of 192 injured were riders.
  • 55% male, 65% white; median age, 29 years.
  • 33% of interviewed riders were injured during a first ride.
  • 14% of injured riders were hospitalized.
  • Patterns among injured riders:
    • 42%, severe injuries.
    • 15%, evidence of traumatic brain injury.
    • 48%, injuries to head; 70%, to upper extremities; 55%, to lower extremities; 18%, to trunk.
    • 35% sustained fractures.
  • Mechanisms:
    • 10% of injured riders collided with a motor vehicle.
    • 50% of interviewed riders blamed pothole or crack, 37% excessive speed, 19% malfunction.
  • 38% of interviewed riders told researchers they would use an e-scooter again.

Study design

  • Retrospective study, Austin, Texas, using emergency medical services (EMS) over 2 months in 2018 for e-scooter-related injuries (n=192).
  • CDC, Austin Public Health (APH) department reviewed charts, interviewed 125 patients.
  • Outcomes: injury types, contributors.
  • Funding: APH, CDC.

Limitations

  • Did not capture non-EMS-involved injuries.
  • Risk for recall bias.