Electric Scooters Causing Public Safety Crisis
According to the Washington Post, injured electric scooter riders are pouring into emergency departments around the country, and doctors have scrambled to document a trend that many view as a growing public safety crisis.
In Salt Lake City — where dockless e-scooters have been on city streets since June — one hospital says it has seen a 161 percent increase in the number of visits involving scooters.
“Most of the patients with injuries specifically reported that they were riding an e-scooter” , noting that they ranged in age from 20 to 50 years old and were often injured attempting to catch themselves in a fall.
This year’s injuries were fractures and dislocations of ankles, wrists, elbows and shoulders, as well as several cases of sprains and lacerations. Emergency physicians also treated several head injuries, and multiple patients told doctors they were intoxicated when they were injured and not wearing a helmet.
Emergency physicians in a dozen cities around the country have said they are seeing a spike in scooter accidents. In seven cities, those physicians are regularly seeing “severe” injuries — including head traumas — that were sustained from scooters malfunctioning or flipping over on uneven surfaces as well as riders being hit by cars or colliding with pedestrians.
Some safety experts have raised questions about the gig economy workforce companies like Bird rely on to maintain their growing fleets. The company has posted ads on Craigslist seeking mechanics that say experience is not necessary in addition to providing training for new hires via YouTube videos. Videos posted online show Bird scooters with accelerators stuck in place and with wobbly handlebars and loose brakes.
“I just signed up to be a Bird mechanic,” one mechanic says on camera. “I realized there are a very large amount of scooters with problems.”
Last week, The Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office revealed that a 24-year-old man who fell off a Lime scooter on his way home from work this month was killed by blunt force injuries to the head.
Hours after Jacoby Stoneking’s death has been ruled an accident — likely making him the first person to due riding one of the electric mobility devices sweeping the nation in recent months — a 20-year-old man in Washington, D.C., was struck by an SUV while riding a Lime scooter on Friday. Firefighters worked to free Carlos Sanchez-Martin, of Silver Spring, Maryland, was dragged about 20 yards and pinned under the silver SUV.Police said Sanchez-Martin later died after being transported to a local hospital.
Word to the wise. Be safe.