- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 1, 2019

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention prepared Wednesday to release the results of a study into the risks associated with electric scooters increasingly appearing in cities across the country.

CDC officials are slated to reveal their findings at a conference Thursday amid companies including Uber, Lyft, Bird and Lime placing e-scooters on streets from coast to coast, CNBC reported.

A preliminary summary of the CDC’s study revealed that e-scooter riders have reported injuries at a rate of 14.3 per 100,000 trips, but that a significant number of those accidents could have been avoided, the report said.

Nearly half of injured e-scooter riders reported hurting their heads, while the next most frequently reported injuries involved fractures to the upper and lower extremities, the report said.

“A high proportion of e-scooter related injuries involved potentially preventable risk factors, such as lack of helmet use, or motor vehicle interaction,” the summary said, CNBC reported.

The majority of injuries happened on the street, and nearly one-third — 29% — were related to first-time riders, the report said.

“Interventions aimed at these risks and education to first-time riders could potentially reduce injury incidence and severity,” CNBC quoted from the report.

CDC officials began the study in March at the request of the health and transportation officials in Austin, Texas, the report said.

The full report is slated to be released Thursday at the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) conference in Atlanta, CNBC reported.

CDC did not immediately return a message seeking further details.

“We hope to build upon the results of this study as more agencies nationwide may use it as a base to expand their research and knowledge about this new mode of transportation,” a spokesperson for the Austin Public Health Department told CNBC.

E-scooters have appeared seemingly overnight in scores of cities both domestically and abroad, and Bird — one of the biggest companies involved — claims to have facilitated over 10 million e-scooter rides within a year of launching in September 2017.

Bird and Lime, a competing e-scooter company, recently boasted a combined value of over $3.1 billion, researchers wrote in a previous report released in January.

Paul Steely White, Bird’s director of safety policy advocacy, compared e-scooter injuries to automobile accidents in response to the CDC report.

“Cars injure 3 million people annually,” he said in a statement. “To make our cities and communities more livable and safe, car usage must decline. As shared e-scooters become an essential transportation mode in this shift away from cars it is critically important that micromobility operators, cities, and organizations shine a data driven light on how to improve the safety of all road users.”

“The CDC’s report is an important one for everyone working to create safe, multimodal transportation systems that expand access, reduce congestion, and better link people with public transportation,” David Spielfogel, Lime’s chief policy officer, told The Washington Times. “We are committed to understanding why incidents occur, how to enhance street designs, educating riders and drivers, and working together to create fundamental and lasting change.”

Conducted out of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), the January report similarly warned that researchers were aware of a sudden surge in e-scooter-related head injuries being reported around L.A., and that area hospitals were treating more people injured while on e-scooters than bicycles.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide