E-scooters provide a convenient way to move around urban centers, but the injury rate is skyrocketing. Frequent e-scooter riders are aware of the risk of injury, according to a recent study conducted for on-demand mobility insurance company Voom, but 80% of e-scooter riders reported they do not wear helmets. The high percentage of lidless e-scooter riders persisted even though 40% said they either knew someone who had been in an e-scooter accident or had been in an accident themselves.
A fall 2018 study in Austin, Texas, conducted in collaboration with the CDC was the first to quantify e-scooter injuries. The study found there were 20 injuries per 100,000 e-scooter trips. Almost half of the injured riders had head injuries, and 15% suffered a traumatic brain injury. The report referred to studies that show bicycle riders reduce the risk of brain and head injuries by wearing helmets. Of 190 injured e-scooter riders who were hospitalized or visited emergency departments, only one was wearing a helmet at the time of injury.
“Recent injuries — and even fatalities — attributed to e-scooters have only exemplified the risks associated with these devices. While millennial riders may acknowledge these dangers, they continue to admit to riding recklessly and are not taking necessary precautions to prioritize their safety,” said Voom CEO and co-founder Tomer Kashi. “There is a dire need for effective solutions, whether that be better laws, increased awareness of self and public safety, or suitable insurance policies that fully cover riders and their surroundings.”
In the Voom study, 62% of the millennials surveyed said they were aware of the possibility of harming themselves or others during e-scooter rides, and 32% of the same group were concerned about the lack of available bike lanes. When asked about insurance coverage, most of the Voom survey’s frequent e-scooter riders said they would prefer pay-per-ride or monthly insurance plans to annual plans.
E-scooter and e-bike ridership in Europe has increased to the point that the European Union now classifies e-bikes the same as mopeds. The EU now requires helmets that are sturdier and provide more protection for e-bike riders than standard bicycle helmets. A growing selection of smart helmets for all forms of cycle riding includes features such as smart lights and cameras, but the most significant focus with new helmets is protecting noggins from injury.