Electric scooters are taking the sidewalks by storm in Austin and other cities in Texas and across the nation as they have been accepted as an efficient and quick solution to getting around town and especially across college campuses.
The rise in scooter use has brought with it a significant rise in the injury claims, that many attorneys are seeing these days, to the point that even the Centers for Disease Control or CDC has taken notice.
A recently published report based on statistics gathered in Austin from 2018 discusses the growing scooter craze and why injury claims lawyers now see so many of these claims.1
Scooters - A Popular Transportation Alternative
It’s no secret that rising transportation costs and congestion in many cities have made dockless electric scooters a growing method used by many people to get around.
In the cities and college campuses where these dockless e-scooters are available including Austin and San Francisco, they’ve become exceedingly popular and scooter rentals soaring.
There is no doubt that people want to use them; however, the question now is whether doing so is yielding the benefits people hoped to see.&
Increasing Scooter Injuries and Injury Claims
While electric scooters are not new, their sudden popularity especially in Austin where they were introduced in the spring of 2018 is based on now making them available for rent in urban areas for quick, affordable transportation.
As great as the idea may seem, injury claims lawyers are seeing the dark side of this seemingly ingenious business idea in the form of increased injury accidents and claims.
Based on statistics compiled by the CDC and APH, 936,110 rides were taken on these scooters in Austin from September 5 through November 30, 2018.1
Considering that injury information was only taken from the Austin Public Health Department and ER's from nine area hospitals, the report does reflect that 192 people were confirmed as having received e-scooter injuries which included both riders and pedestrians.1
Of those injuries, 48% were head injuries such as fractures, lacerations, abrasions, and traumatic brain injury and 35% of all injuries involved bone fractures with nearly half of all injuries considered severe.1
Why So Many Scooter Injuries?&
Based on the number and type of injuries that occurred, injury attorneys and public health officials considered why and the report offered some suggestions:
- Lack of Rider Experience - Anyone with a driver’s license can rent and ride a scooter, regardless of whether they have any experience on that type of vehicle.
- Failure to Follow Riding Instructions - Riders fail to follow scooter manufacturer and scooter rental instructions, such as to wear helmets and other safety gear, maintain safe speeds, not ride on walkways, and others.
- Failure To Wear A Helmet - Perhaps the most interesting statistic gathered thus far is that fewer than 1% of the e-scooter users wear a helmet, a statistic that must change to reduce the severity of injuries.1
Electric Scooters - A Convenience and A Nuisance
All reasons combined, lawyers dealing with the many injury claims pouring in this past year can see that while dockless electric scooters are an attractive convenience, they are also a nuisance to riders and pedestrians in the areas where they are used.
Leading manufacturers of the scooters welcomed the CDC study with promises to use the information to find ways to reduce the incidence of injuries.
In the end, much of the responsibility lies with the rider and his or her willingness to follow guidelines for use including the use of recommended protective safety gear and how and where to ride these scooters.
Hildebrand & Wilson, Attorneys at Law
7930 Broadway, Suite 122
Pearland TX 77581
1Austin Public Health, Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit, E[pidemiology and Public Health Preparedness Division with assistance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dockless Electric Scooter Injuries Study: Dockless Electric Scooter-Related Injuries Study - Austin Texas, September-November 2018, April 2019