Dr. Robert Glatter works in the emergency room of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. He has treated countless patients involved in motor vehicle crashes. Yet, there is one growingly common conveyance-related injury he has yet to handle.
However, Dr. Glatter has had a front-row seat into the numerous New Yorkers coming into the ER following these types of collisions. One involved a young mother pushing her baby in a carriage. While a single instance, he sees it as one of many accidents that represents a “serious public health threat.”
Scooters used to be powered by a child’s foot. Today, they run on electricity and can travel up to 15 miles per hour. Like similar two-wheeled vehicles, helmets and other safety apparel are recommended due to the significant risk of injuries.
The innovations and lack of protection are filling up emergency rooms in New York and throughout the nation.
The first-ever study conducted by the JAMA Network Open medical journal focused on the dangerous outcomes of scooter accidents. The data revealed troubling trends involving the new choice of travel.
In the two hospitals that were studied, electric scooter accidents almost outnumbered combined bicycle (118) and pedestrian (181) collisions. Out of 249 scooter accident cases, 94 percent of patients were discharged without being admitted. However, it is the six percent that is showing an alarming trend:
- 27.7 percent suffered sprains, cuts, and bruises
- 31.7 percent came in with fractures
- 40.2 percent experienced head injuries
- 8.4 percent of injuries involved colliding into pedestrians
- 4.4 percent of operators were wearing helmets
- 11 percent were younger than 18
The last stat is especially troubling as new companies are taking advantage of the trend and offering dockless e-scooters for rent in metropolitan areas nationwide. Currently, eighteen is the minimum age requirement. However, the rule is often ignored. More and more scooters operated by people new to the vehicle or negligently navigating it will only result in potentially catastrophic consequences.