Forty percent of the injuries associated with the use of electric scooters are linked to noggin blows, while nearly 95 percent of drivers do not wear helmets. his friendly study was released on Friday, January 25th.
As e-mobility and cycling stocks move into cities across the country, health professionals are tracking the potential public health and safety issues surrounding the micro-mobility market. The new, JAMA Network Open study is the first to attempt to track the pattern of electric scooter injuries.
[M]    Thousands of drivers now use everyday electric scooters on the streets of the US shared with millions of pedestrians and drivers, "write the authors ̵
In order to obtain some of the first injury-related data, the researchers monitored medical records in two UCLA-affiliated emergency departments for one year, skimming for scooter injuries. Between 1 September 2017 and 31 August 2018, they reported on 249 reports of electric vehicle injuries. For comparison, they identified in the same period 195 bicycle injuries and 181 pedestrian injuries in the emergency rooms.
Of those injured in scooters, 58 percent were male and the average age was 33.7 years. Almost 92 percent of the injured were scooter riders at the time of their injury. The rest were non-riding pedestrians, including eleven hit by scooters and five stumbling over parked scooters.
The most common injuries were head injuries, which accounted for 40 percent of total injuries. Although most were not serious cases and the injured were discharged home from the emergency room, two cases were severe and were delivered to the intensive care unit. Other common injuries included bone fractures (32 percent) and the grouping of bruises, sprains and cuts (28 percent).
Only 10 of the injured drivers were documented as helper. And in a series of public viewing sessions, the researchers found that nearly 95 percent of drivers did not wear helmets despite local laws requiring helmet use.
Due to the low helmet usage and the high head injury rate, researchers hope the data can inform health policy. The finding is current, they state, as California just signed a bill supported by Bird, which abolishes the helmet duty for electric scooter riders over 18 years.
In an accompanying editorial, Frederick Rivara, an expert in injury prevention at the University of Washington, wrote that health researchers were not trying to rain with the injury data on the scooter parade. "We are not cavemen trying to put the ghost in the bottle," he wrote. However, according to Rivara, health professionals should work with micromobility companies, helmet manufacturers and policymakers to look after safety.
"We as healthcare and public health providers should work with these other actors to ensure that these companies do not create a new public health problem," he concluded.
JAMA Network Open 2018. DOI: 10.1001 / jamanetworkopen.2018.7381 (About DOIs).