You may have seen people buzzing around your town recently on electronic scooters, as shared-ride programs have popped up in hundreds of cities and college campuses nationwide. These e-scooters are easy to use: Riders download an app, find a scooter, un-lock it via the app and ride. But this new craze comes with safety risks.
Emergency room physicians report seeing a growing number of head injuries, broken bones, sprains and lacerations from e-scooter crashes. Because these devices are so new, there is no official statistic for the growing number of injuries. But health officials expect the number to rise as riders tend to use the devices on urban streets and roads and drivers of cars and trucks don’t readily see them.
These e-scooter programs are designed for spontaneity: You decide you want to ride, find the nearest scooter, and go. So, most riders don’t carry around or use safety gear such as helmets, and the e-scooter companies don’t provide them.
There are steps you can take to protect yourself if you choose to scoot around town. First, if you think you might use a scooter, bring along a helmet — and use it. Closed-toed shoes, elbow guards and kneepads also help protect your body from injuries.
Also, don’t wear ear buds or head phones while on the scooters — these devices shut out the world around you, including sirens and warning honks from approaching vehicles. And if at all possible, try to ride on sidewalks. It should go without saying, but don’t hop on a scooter if you’ve been drinking.
E-scooters are a fun, new craze. Following these steps can keep you on the road and out of a hospital.