E-scooters are all over the streets and sidewalks these days. These motorized vehicles are a fun and easy way to get around. But some riders are getting seriously injured and ending up in emergency departments.
Emergency physicians are seeing increases in scooter-related accidents and injuries to riders and nearby pedestrians. Unsafe and unlucky riders are reporting all sorts of injuries from cuts or scrapes to broken ribs, arms and legs, or even much more serious conditions like head or neck injuries and organ damage.
The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) today launched a public health and safety campaign to urge millions of electronic scooter riders to scoot safely. The campaign features a public service announcement which offers commonsense tips for scooter riders as they become more prevalent nationwide and scooter-related emergency department visits are on the rise.
“Scooters are fun and convenient, but they can be very dangerous if you don’t ride them correctly or follow the rules of the road,” said Vidor Friedman, MD, FACEP, president of ACEP. “Emergency physicians are treating an increasing number of scooter-related injuries. And, many avoidable injuries can be life-changing. The number one thing you can do to avoid serious harm is to wear a helmet.”
The animated public service announcement and downloadable poster encourage all riders to “Scoot Safe!”
Broken arms, sprained wrists, neck injuries and deep bruises or abrasions are among the most common injuries that emergency physicians are treating. In fact, a JAMA Network Open study authored by emergency physicians noted that scooter riders landing in Southern California emergency departments over the last year had injuries like fractures (31.7%), head injury (40.2%), bruises or cuts (27.7%). Only 4% of those included in the analysis were documented as having worn a helmet.
Among other safe riding tips, the ACEP video suggests that riders:
- Wear a helmet. This is the easiest and smartest thing you can do to avoid serious head injury.
- Learn and observe local rules of the road. Each city is different, some require you to ride in the street rather than on the sidewalk.
- Don’t speed. Start slowly until you get used to the steering and the brakes.
- Beware of road hazards. Even small bumps can cause dangerous falls.
- Be an alert rider. Pay attention to the road, parked and moving vehicles and pedestrians. Don’t wear head phones, put your phone away, and save the snacks for when the ride is done. Don’t carry too many bags while scooting.
- Before starting your ride, inspect the tires, and check the throttle and brakes to make sure everything works properly.
- One scooter is built for one rider. As the video says, “two on a scooter is trouble – double!”
- Never ride a scooter if you have been drinking alcohol.
- When you’re done riding, park the scooter upright near a tree, sign or designated area.
More Information at www.emergencycareforyou.org/ScootSafe .