The e-scooter craze is convenient for some, annoying to others and painful or even lethal to the unlucky few. Thursday's new study seems to highlight some of the (perhaps obvious) common causes of electronic scooter accidents: being drunk or intoxicated and not wearing a damn helmet.
Researchers in California – The state where companies' trend of offering electric scooters as part of a ride-sharing program first began in 2017 – examined hospital records of people visiting one of three trauma centers in the San area Diego with injuries related to e-scooter.
Between the 1st of September In 2017 and October 31, 2018, they found that at least 103 patients at these centers had been injured by electronic scooters. Most of these injuries involve fractures of the limbs or face, but nearly 20 percent had internal bleeding in their skull, while a little less had concussions without bleeding. Fortunately, most injuries were easily treated and nearly 90 percent were sent home the same day.
When the authors looked more deeply at the injured people, they also found some clear patterns. Most (65 percent) are men; almost all (98 percent) did not wear a helmet; and often took drugs just before their injury. Of the 80 percent of patients who were tested for alcohol, just under half had a blood alcohol concentration above the legal driving limit (0.08 percent). Only 32 patients were screened for drug urine, and more than half of this group tested positive for a mind-altering substance, most notably THC, but also stimulants such as meth and cocaine.
The team's findings were published Thursday in the journal Trauma Surgery and Acute Care Open.
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While research is one of the first to provide a detailed look at who is most at risk of injury from the use of electronic scooters, it comes with some limitations. On the one hand, the authors examined only a small group of people who the medical staff thought were sufficiently injured to require care at a trauma center. But there are many people who are suffocated by an electronic scooter and have received medical attention only at an ambulance or emergency department. These people may be more or less likely to wear a helmet or drink and drink, but to what extent we cannot say for sure.
There is not much information whether wearing a helmet or avoiding drugs while riding an e-scooter could prevent injuries, but it is not exactly the scope to think that they could.
"[G] has previous protective effects on helmets with other types of motor and non-motorized vehicles, the use of a helmet is likely to have a beneficial effect on this population as well," the authors wrote.
The belief that users of electronic scooters carry helmets are easier than this, some riding services have begun to provide free or reduced helmets at the request of the user, the authors note, but states where these services are legal often refrain from making them mandatory. this one one to change the provision that would require the use of a helmet by adults riding their electronic scooter on cycle paths and streets (minors are not required yet) The law was passed, at least in part, because ride-sharing companies complaining that requiring consumers to wear helmets would discourage new customers.
And while some cities and states have struggled and even banned these services – in the Nashville case this year, after a scooter death – others embrace them, and an industry like this lo seems to be about to expand and thrive in the years to come. As the authors warn, the more popular these devices become, the more people can undoubtedly injure themselves. And the more we have to find ways to keep people safe.
"Early studies of the patterns of safety and injury of electronic scooters are vital to guide the public and legislators on injury prevention strategies for this evolving mode of transport," the authors wrote.