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UCSF team finds significant increase in injuries for e-scooter riders

Researchers at the University of California San Francisco have found a significant increase in e-scooter injuries and hospital admissions between 2014 and 2018—particularly over the last year—with people aged 18 to 34 years becoming the most injured group.

Nearly one-third of patients had a head injury, more than double the rate of head injuries experienced by bicyclists. An open-access paper on their study is published in the journal JAMA Surgery.

Electric scooters (e-scooters) are a novel, rapid, and convenient mode of transportation with increasing accessibility across the United States. E-scooter use may decrease traffic congestion and increase public transit use. Expansion of e-scooters in dense, high-traffic urban areas will affect rider injury in unknown ways and lead to new policies already implemented by some major cities. With the influx of e-scooter availability in urban areas, particularly in the past year, we sought to investigate trends of injury and hospital admission.

—Namiri et al.

During the study period, a weighted total of 39,113 e-scooter injuries occurred in the United States. Age-adjusted e-scooter injury incidence per 100,000 significantly increased by 222%, from 6 to 19. There was an increase in age-adjusted hospital admission by 365%, from 0.4 to 1.8. 36% percent of those injured across the study period were women.

While the incidence of injuries increased over the study period, the body region injured was stable. In 2018, 4,707 of 14,651 e-scooter injuries involved the head (32%). Upper and lower extremity injuries increased from 1,083 to 3,747 and 1,721 to 4,707, respectively. The most common injuries during the study period were fractures (27%); contusions and abrasions (23%); and lacerations (14%).

The proportion of injuries among those aged 18 to 34 years increased by 185%, from 582 of 4,582 (13%) to 5,309 of 14,651 (36%). Admissions among those aged 18 to 34 years also increased by 354%, from 30 of 313 (10%) to 599 of 1,374 (44%).

There was also a significant increase in injuries among those younger than 18 years, yet the overall proportion compared with other age groups decreased over the study period by 34%.


  • Namiri NK, Lui H, Tangney T, Allen IE, Cohen AJ, Breyer BN (2020) “Electric Scooter Injuries and Hospital Admissions in the United States, 2014-2018.” JAMA Surg. doi: 10.1001/jamasurg.2019.5423


It’s really important to wear a helmet, but in the shared scooter market, where they are scattered around a city like discards, that’s tough to accomplish.

While vacationing in Hawaii, I woke up in the back of an ambulance. It was the only day I didn’t wear a helmet that trip. Low speed ride on level ground, no worries about safety.
Fractured skull, $13k hospital bill.

Always wear your helmet, kids.

I don’t know what the solution is for shared scooters but it’s a problem that needs to be solved. Maybe require racks with helmets and disposable liners.


It's unclear if this refers to the standup small wheel style ( presumed) or the motor scooter sit down road version. Motorcyle riders wouldn't go near either as the small wheels are simply an accident waiting to happen. It's one of those things that it's not really possible to ban them but it is important to inform the consumer. Regular reports from various aian countries of inexpuerienced tourists coming to grief on hired two wheelers the ones with experience would think twice.

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