Electric scooters, or e-scooters, and scooter-sharing apps are spreading to cities across the U.S., with the new concept popular in more than 100 cities already. Companies like Lime and Bird, along with Uber’s Jump and Lyft scooters, have thousands of dock-less scooters available for rent nationwide.
While the popularity of e-scooters continues to grow, however, so do the reports of accidents and injuries. Similarly to the way it took some time for lawmakers to determine how to handle questions of insurance and liability when ridesharing first became available, it is still too early to know exactly how lawsuits related to scooter accidents may play out.
Tracking Injury Rates on E-Scooters
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced a study into e-scooters, hoping to compile more comprehensive numbers on:
- Risk factors for accidents and injuries;
- The severity and commonality of injuries; and
- The cause of accidents
Before this study, there have not been studies about the risks associated with e-scooters or the most common injuries outside tracking incidents at hospital- or municipality-level. As of May 2019, one of the most comprehensive studies thus far was a statistical analysis conducted by Portland’s Bureau of Transportation.
One of the key pieces of evidence that came out of the Portland study was that the rate of accidents for e-scooter users is much higher than motorbikes, cars, and other modes of transportation. While this study considered all scooter injuries and not just those utilizing scooter-sharing apps, Business Insider reports that the Portland Study found:
- E-scooter riders suffer 2.2 injury accidents per 10,000 miles ridden; this compares to
- Motorbike riders have 0.05 accidents per 10,000 miles; and
- Motorists have 0.1 accidents per 10,000 driven.
Consumer Reports attempted to conduct a survey of e-scooter incidents in 2018 but found that many hospitals simply are not yet tracking these numbers. With about two dozen hospitals participating, the study identified about 1,545 e-scooter injuries. With so few hospitals responding, it is a fair guess that the actual number is exponentially higher.
Collecting Comprehensive Statistics Is Difficult, But Trends Emerge
While there are not yet comprehensive numbers on just how common e-scooter accidents and injuries occur, some hospitals are tracking their own statistics. When looking at large hospitals in cities across the country, some disturbing trends emerge:
- People are getting hurt, sometimes severely
- Most are refusing to wear a helmet
- Many are drunk or drugged at the time of the accident
The University of San Diego Medical Center
- 42 patients admitted to the hospital
- 98 percent of those with injuries did not wear a helmet
- 48 percent of those with injuries had a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit to operate a vehicle in California
- 52 percent had an illegal drug or illicit substance in their system
When they looked at data from UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica and Ronald Reagan Medical Center in Los Angeles, researchers found that most of the 249 people came into their emergency rooms with e-scooter-related injuries in a one-year period, according to the CNBC report. They began tracking these numbers in September 2017 and the year in question ended in August 2018. The majority of those treated at UCLA hospitals suffered from fall-related injuries.
Dell Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas
CNBC reported that Dell Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas began tracking e-scooter injuries when the scooter-sharing apps debuted in Austin during May 2018. Between May 2018 and March 2019, Dell Seton doctors treated:
- 66 total trauma patients who suffered e-scooter injuries; this includes
- 19 patients head injuries;
- 38 broken bones and other orthopedic injuries; and
- 13 facial injuries.
According to a report from the Washington Post, not only is there an increase in scooter accidents but many of the injuries sustained are severe. The Post reported that emergency departments in seven cities reported regularly treating severe injuries such as head trauma and broken bones that occurred as a result of scooter accidents. These accidents were the result of:
- Scooters malfunctioning
- Scooter riders falling or flipping on uneven pavement
- Scooter riders hit by cars
- Scooter riders hitting pedestrians or other riders
E-Scooter Accidents Happen, But Liability Is Still Up in the Air
While we do not yet have a full picture of just how dangerous they can be, there is no denying that e-scooter and scooter-sharing accidents occur. Falls, malfunctions, defects with the roadway or sidewalks, car accidents, and other issues can cause a rider to suffer severe injuries in a matter of moments. Determining liability, though, may be difficult until there are clear-cut rules in place.
While a car accident caused by a distracted motorist will follow similar rules that would apply in a motorbike or bicycle case, there will be questions to address when it comes to malfunctions or poor maintenance. When an accident occurs because a scooter is defective or has a mechanical problem, the scooter company will likely be liable.
Talk to a Personal Injury Accident Attorney About Your Fort Lauderdale E-Scooter Accident
If you suffered injuries in an e-scooter accident in Fort Lauderdale or the surrounding area, an e-scooter accident lawyer from the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato will review your case for free. You can count on an e-scooter accident lawyer to listen to what happened to you and help you understand your legal options. An e-scooter accident lawyer may be able to take legal action on your behalf.
You can count on us to provide responsive support and prompt communication about your case. Call 954-633-8270 today for your no-cost consultation.