Study finds most e-scooter injuries happen on city sidewalks

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Most e-scooter injuries happen on sidewalks, a new study of emergency room visits found.

Researchers from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety interviewed 103 e-scooter riders who sought care at Washington, D.C.’s George Washington University Medical Center over eight months in 2019, and found 58 percent had been injured on the sidewalk.

Just 13 percent of e-scooter riders surveyed said they were injured in a collision with a car, truck or bus, according to the study published Thursday.

“We didn’t see many e-scooter crashes with motor vehicles, and that may be a result of riders sticking mostly to the sidewalk,” study author Jessica Cicchino said.

“Moving scooters off the sidewalk could put riders at risk of more severe injuries, but as things stand they might be suffering these lesser injuries more often.”

Instead, most e-scooter interviewees got hurt thanks to “hazardous surface features, infrastructure such as curbs or other falls,” the study said.

A whopping four-in-ten told researchers their injuries occurred while riding an e-scooter for the first time. Only two interviewees reported wearing a helmet.

Bike lanes were “rarely available” when e-scooter riders got hurt, researchers found.

“While e-scooter riders prefer using bike lanes, when these lanes are not available they are more likely to use the sidewalk due to safety concerns about riding alongside vehicular traffic,” Pam Shadel Fischer of the Governors Highway Safety Association said in response to the report.

Battery-powered, two-wheeled rental e-scooters are enormously popular in the nation’s capital, where they’ve been legal since March 2018.

But while the presence of electric scooters on sidewalks creates more conflict with pedestrians, during the study period only six non-riders checked into the emergency room with scooter-related injuries.

Of the six, four were pedestrians or cyclists injured after tripped over or swerving around a parked scooter, researchers said.