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The flood of electric scooters on city streets is also producing a wave of injuries in emergency rooms, many of them serious head injuries.
A University of California-San Francisco study finds scooter-related injuries and hospital admissions in the United States grew by 222 percent between 2014 and 2018. That’s more than 39,000 injuries. Of those, nearly 3,300 required a hospital admission, an increase of of 365 percent.
The numbers are surprising even for the doctors that are seeing the injured.
“I’ve been on call where, literally, for seven days in a row we’ve had someone come in from one of the scooter accidents,” says Dr. Geoffrey Manley, Chief of Neurosurgery at UCSF. “This paper is simply documenting what we’re seeing in real time here every single day with people coming in with these accidents.”
“As you would expect, as ridership grew tremendously,” said Benjamin N. Breyer, MD, a UCSF Health urologist and one author of the study. “But the sheer volume of the injuries, nearly 40,000 over the study period. It makes you think there should be some things done to improve safety.”
Perhaps more striking than the overall number of injured riders is the percentage of the accidents that resulted in head injuries. While the most common injuries were fractures, contusions and abrasions, the study found that nearly a third of the patients involved in scooter accidents suffered head trauma.