Electric scooters are flooding cities across the US and around the world are meant to be a fun, easy way to get around. The rise of these rentable vehicles, however, has led by a surge in people ending up in the hospital with scooter-related injuries, according to a new study from UC San Francisco.
More than 39,000 electric scooter injuries were treated in emergency rooms across the US between 2014 and 2018. That's an increase of 222% over the period, according to the study, which was published Wednesday in JAMA Surgery. Nearly a third of patients suffered head trauma, according to the study, with the most common injuries being fractures (27%), contusions and abrasions (23%) and lacerations (14%).
"We're very concerned about the significant increase in injuries and hospital admissions that we documented, particularly during the last year, and especially with young people," Dr. Benjamin N. Breyer, a UCSF Health urologist and senior author on the study, said in a release.
Accidents on electric scooters have led to severe rider injuries and even deaths. In 2018, CNET found that accident rates on scooters could be as high as 1,000 per month in the US. While some injuries happen when the rider doesn't have control and runs into a curb or wall, doctors and lawyers have also reported instances when riders say a scooter's throttle got stuck or the brakes failed.
The USCF study, which lines up with earlier findings from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says that oversight is largely absent regarding where people can ride scooters and whether helmets are mandatory.
"We strongly believe that helmets should be worn, and e-scooter manufacturers should encourage helmet use by making them more easily accessible," said Nikan K. Namiri, a medical student at UCSF and first author of the study.
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