Electric scooters entered the scene several years ago, though recently a boom in e-scooter usage has swept the country. Several companies, like Bird and Lime, have capitalized on this trend by introducing dockless scooters that many cities have adapted into a form of public transportation. Dockless scooters have changed the game for intra-city travelers, but they still pose risks that could severely injure riders if they aren’t cautious. Before operating an electric scooter, it is crucial to keep several safety tips in mind.
Electric Scooter Accident Statistics
With the introduction of electric scooters onto city streets, the incidence of scooter-related accidents has increased. In total, riders have made roughly 38.5 million e-scooter trips across the United States in 2018.
Many organizations, like the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have conducted studies in different areas where e-scooters are legal to gather data surrounding scooter safety. In their study, the CDC recorded 182, 333 hours of riding time and a total of 891,121 miles driven. During a three-month period, they found that 20 individuals sustained some sort of scooter-related injury for every 100,000 trips taken.
Out of the injured riders, half sustained head injuries, while 15% sustained some form of traumatic brain injury. Not wearing a helmet exacerbated many of these accidents. In fact, riders with minor injuries could have avoided injury altogether with helmet use. The CDC’s study confirmed distracted and/or intoxicated riding is a large contributor to scooter-related accidents. One-third of all injured riders were under the influence of alcohol, while another third reported distractions from activities like listening to a podcast while riding.
Check if Your E-Scooter is Safe
Of all the injured riders in the CDC’s study, roughly 19% of riders cited scooter malfunctioning as the cause of their accident. This is alarming considering scooter riders face safety obstacles even with functional vehicles. Before you take off on an electric dockless scooter, check if your scooter is functional.
Though you aren’t a mechanic, you can always take a dockless electric scooter on a test run before leaving the area altogether. Make sure you have full control of the throttle, which makes the vehicle accelerate. Additionally, make sure the braking system on your scooter is functional. If you notice anything weird about your scooter, like shaking or sounds that seem unsafe, report these findings to the company you rented the scooter from.
Riding Safety Tips
After making sure your e-scooter is functional, remember to follow several safety regulations that keep riders safe.
- Ride on the street. Unless road conditions dictate otherwise, do not operate your e-scooter on beach paths, sidewalks, or in other public areas like parks. Electric scooter laws dictate the safest locations for riders to operate their motorized scooters for the safety of both pedestrians and riders.
- Wear a helmet. Even if your state does not legally require them, helmets save lives. Many head injuries associated with electric scooters are preventable by wearing a helmet – do not take this safety tool for granted.
- Do not stop your vehicle without examining your surroundings. Though they operate at slower speeds than cars, e-scooters do travel faster than pedestrians and casual bike riders. Coming to a sudden stop while parking your scooter can cause pedestrian collisions, or even car collisions when in the street.
- Do not share a scooter. Though tandem riding might sound cool or fun, it really just puts both riders at increased risk for accident.
Electric scooters are a useful form of transport that riders should utilize safely, especially when their state does not require helmet use. Remember to ride with caution to enjoy your ride without a hitch.