Jumping aboard an electric scooter is fun, inexpensive and can get you around crowded streets and big cities. But are they safe?
Cities across the country have introduced E-scooters as a public transit option, which has resulted in a rise in the number of accidents.
Some of the injuries were serious to life-threatening. Experts warn they can be extremely risky to both riders and drivers, if you’re not careful.
There are examples from across the country that show just how dangerous riding an E-scooter can be.
In Miami, Tracy Jordan’s daughter, Ashanti, was confined to a hospital bed. She suffered a traumatic brain injury while riding an e-scooter after colliding with a car.
“Her life has never been the same since that day,” said Tracy Jordan. “I’ll have to deal with this for the rest of her life and my life.”
Karen Riggott fractured her skull after she fell off an e-scooter in San Diego. Her husband has spent every day in the ICU by her bed side.
“She doesn't speak, my son can't talk to her, we can't hug her,” said Riggott’s husband.
“I couldn’t believe it and as I’m lying there, I looked down at my ankle and I thought, “oh, my god, I can’t get up from this,” said Adrian Voss.
Redding native Adrian Voss considers himself lucky. He came away from an E-Scooter accident in Los Angeles with just a broken ankle.
“I was riding on the street trying to merge back on to the sidewalk. And instead of stopping and picking up the scooter, I tried to jump maybe about an inch of a lift and fell and dislocated my ankle and broke it in two places,” said Voss.
Voss wasn’t alone. The city of Los Angeles reported 223 incidents from January 1, 2019 to September 11, 2019 that involved riders. Drivers were at risk too.
There were 190 accidents that involved E-scooters colliding with a vehicle.
In Miami, fire officials in Miami responded to over 105 E-scooter related incidents in an eight month period: 80 people were transported to the hospital with one fatality. The more serious accidents involve riders not wearing helmets or collisions with vehicles.
Fort Lauderdale Battalion Chief Stephen Gollan described the type of incidents.
“Trauma related to the scooter incident…whether hitting a pothole or coming off the sidewalk. Losing control of the scooter, falling and then injuring themselves.”
According to paramedics, serious E-scooter accidents often involve a vehicle.
“I think too many people look at them as a toy,” said Dr. Jason Mansour.
Mansour is an emergency department doctor at the Broward Health Center.
“I think the vast majority is lacerations and broken bones. We do see significant numbers of head trauma and those are the ones that concern us the most,” Mansour said.
He says most of the riders were not wearing helmets.
“I think people underestimate how dangerous it is when they have to break suddenly or if they have to turn suddenly,” said Mansour.
In Connecticut, the town of New Milford has rolled out E-scooters as part of a 60-day pilot program where riders will be expected to share the road.
“My first thought process was, this could be…uh…something that could be very concerning, and it is, said Pete Bass, New Milford’s mayor.
For Bass, the goal is to bring more visitors to the area and insists safety is paramount in making scooters work here in the town.
When asked if it was safe to have e-scooters on the road without designated bike lanes, Bass said, “It would be the same posing as it would be for somebody riding a bike.”
“Safety is our number one thing,” said Alan Moisio.
Alan Moisio is the CEO of Lynx, the local company that pitched the pilot program to New Milford. Moisio said he’s learned from other major cities with E-scooters.
“I was able to ride all over and if I wanted to end my ride in the middle of the road, I could...which is dangerous,” said Moisio.
Moisio said they installed a GEO fence which tracks exactly where the scooters are, who’s using them and when. They also require riders to wear helmets, and people will have to bring their own. Although how that will be enforced has yet to be determined.
Voss’s accident cost him thousands and left him out of the office for months.
His road to recovery means months of physical therapy but knows his injury could’ve been so much worse.
“This was an accident and I’ve only been able to learn and go forward from there,” said Voss.