E-scooters, e-bikes, and hoverboards have soared in popularity in recent years. But along with the growing presence of these “micromobility” devices comes a significant increase in injuries and deaths, according to a new government report.
The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a report on these alternative modes of transportation, which provide cheap, easy, and convenient ways for people to travel short distances, compared to driving or relying on public transportation. Most users say that e-bikes and e-scooters are a more fun way of getting around as well.
Robert Adler, the CPSC’s Acting Chairman, advises that people greatly reduce their odds of ending up in the emergency room by following some simple, common-sense safety measures.
“Remember, many accidents can be prevented by simply slowing down,” Mr. Adler said. “Always wear a helmet, be aware of your surroundings, and be prepared to stop.”
Data collected by the CPSC from 2017 through 2019 shows that tens of thousands of people have suffered injuries of varying degrees during that time and dozens of others have been killed.
Here’s a look at some of the CPSC’s key data points involving e-scooters and e-bikes:
- There were about 133,000 emergency room visits associated with all e-bikes, e-scooters, and other micromobility devices from 2017 through 2019.
- E-scooters account for much of the increase in emergency room visits, which rose from 7,700 in 2017, to 14,500 in 2018, and to 27,700 in 2019.
- A majority of hoverboard injuries seen in ERs (67%) involved children younger than 15. By contrast, 58% of injuries involving e-scooters involved people age 25 and older.
- Fractures, followed by contusions/abrasions, are the two most common micromobility injuries treated by ER physicians.
- The most frequently injured body parts are the upper and lower limbs, as well as the head and the neck.
- Most of the injuries are attributed to unspecified falls. Loss of user control, collisions with other motor vehicles, and pavement issues are other notable hazards leading to the injuries.
- The CPSC is aware of 41 fatalities associated with micromobility products from 2017 through 2019, though reporting is incomplete at this time.
The CPSC has also made the following public service announcement to help raise awareness of e-scooter and e-bike injuries and encourage people to use the devices carefully and responsibly.
People injured on or by scooters are finding it difficult to determine just who is liable for their injuries. A spectrum of scenarios involving e-scooter accidents can blur liability and compound the legal complications. E-scooter companies collect a lot of data from their devices and the people who rent them, including geo-tracking location, timestamps, and the user’s personal and payment information. But they may not be forthcoming in releasing their customers’ information, and it is unclear what laws may apply to require them to do so.