The Electric Scooter Trend and the Risks That Come With It

Can Electric Scooters Cause Injuries?

Electric scooter rental services are popping up in France, Germany, Spain and, of course, the United States, where they first launched in Santa Monica, California.

Now, even smaller metropolitan areas like Scottsdale, AZ are looking to monetize on this fun way to get around. Unfortunately, electric scooter injuries are being seen more and more in emergency rooms each day.

What is an Electric Scooter?

The manual form has always been popular with teens, but the electric version is serious adult business. An electric scooter is merely a motorized version of what many rode as a child. It is a platform with a handle on two wheels. The forward motion comes from one foot pushing along the side of the platform until an engine kicks in. These scooters go up to 15 miles (ca. 24 km) per hour.

Electric Scooter Injuries

A study conducted by researchers in Los Angeles found that electric scooter injuries send more people to the emergency room than both bicycle accidents and walking incidents. When examining 249 patients treated for motorized scooter injuries, they found:

  • Twenty-eight percent had contusions, sprains and cuts. Although minor injuries, they are still painful and temporarily disabling.
  • Thirty percent had fractures. A bone fracture is a more serious injury, one that can require surgery to fix. For many, the fractures occur in the hand, wrist or forearm because they reach out to protect themselves when falling. Any of these fractures can cause permanent connective tissue or nerve damage. They may require physical therapy to return the full range of motion and can lead to chronic pain.
  • Forty percent had head injuries. Head injuries are potentially life-threatening, especially given what we know about traumatic brain injury. They account for more than 30 percent of all injury deaths.  

Although most of the damage was not severe, two people in the study did have severe head injuries that required intensive care.

Electric Scooter Injuries to Pedestrians

A report in the Washington Post states there is also an increase in electric scooters vs. pedestrians accidents, especially among the elderly or disabled.

The common injuries to these bystanders can include:

  • Broken hip – Studies show that one out of 10 people over 50 will die within a month of breaking a hip. There is also high risk for other joint or bone fractures like the wrist or ankle, especially if they require surgical repair.
  • Broken ribs – Broken ribs are painful and dangerous if they puncture a lung.
  • Deep abrasions – The skin tears easily for most older adults. These types of tears are difficult to heal, too.

Electric scooters are fun to ride and an inexpensive form of local transportation, but there are incidents of scooter malfunctions causing injury, as well. For example, the base may split open leading to a severe fall or the engine can catch fire.

There is the added risk of long-term injuries that lead to chronic pain for someone who rides an electric scooter. A twisted back or damaged vertebrae can mean years of suffering for a rider or a pedestrian hit by the scooter. If you have an injury related to an electric-scooter contact Backfit today for treatment options.

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