A team from University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in Hamburg, Germany examined the various aspects of e-scooter associated injuries using one of the largest cohorts to date, and reported their findings and recommendations in an open-access paper in Scientific Reports.
E-scooter rentals became widely available in Hamburg starting in June 2019; since then, the authors reported, their emergency department has seen a sharp increase in the amount of e-scooter related injuries.
For their analysis, the authors screened the electronic patient records of emergency department admissions for e-scooter related injuries between June 2019 and December 2021. Patient demographic data, mechanism of injury, alcohol consumption, helmet usage, sustained injuries and utilized medical resources were recorded.
Overall, they found that:
268 patients (57% male) with a median age of 30.3 years were included; of those, 252 (94%) were e-scooter riders themselves, while 16 (6%) were involved in crashes associated with an e-scooter.
Patients in non-rider e-scooter crashes were either cyclists who collided with e-scooter riders or older pedestrians (median age 61.2 years) who tripped over parked e-scooters.
While e-scooter riders involved in a crash sustained an impact to the head or face in 58% of cases, those under the influence of alcohol fell on their head or face in 84% of cases. This resulted in a large amount of maxillofacial soft tissue lacerations and fractures.
Extremity fractures and dislocations were more often recorded for the upper extremities.
83 (33%) e-scooter injuries were sustained under the influence of alcohol. E-scooter crashes with riders who consumed alcohol were associated with more severe injuries, especially to the head and face.
E-scooter riders under the influence of alcohol were found to have a significantly higher risk of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) / intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) (29% vs. 8%, p < 0.0001), as well as soft tissue injuries to the face (71% vs. 28% p < 0.0001) and maxillofacial fractures (24% vs. 6% p < 0.0001) when compared to sober riders .
An impact to the head or face was recorded for 147 (58%) of all e-scooter riders. Two (1%) e-scooter riders wore a helmet.
This study comprises one of the largest cohorts of e-scooter associated injuries to date. Non-rider injuries, especially of the elderly who tripped over e-scooters, may possibly be prevented by considerate parking or designated parking areas. Alcohol consumption is established as a risk factor for more severe and especially injuries to the head and face regions. Therefore, enforcement of drunk driving laws for e-scooters is required and the usage of a helmet must be recommended. These measures could enhance the safety of e-scooters and increase their acceptance as a valuable means of urban transportation.—Kleinertz et al.
Kleinertz, H., Volk, A., Dalos, D. et al. (2023) “Risk factors and injury patterns of e-scooter associated injuries in Germany.” Sci Rep 13, 706 doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-25448-z