As the popularity of e-scooters rises across major US cities, there has been a surge in emergency room visits for easily preventable injuries, according to the CDC.
The cheap, motorized scooters from the likes of Uber, Lyft, Lime and Bird, whisk people around at around 20 mph - which has caused a spate of fractures, dislocations and head trauma according to CNBC.
The CDC has found that head injuries topped the list of accident-related incidents involving e-scooters at 45%. The study determined that many e-scooter injuries could have been prevented if riders wore helmets and were more careful around cars, according to summary of the study released on Wednesday. -CNBC
"A high proportion of e-scooter related injuries involved potentially preventable risk factors, such as lack of helmet use, or motor vehicle interaction," reads a preliminary summary of the study.
The CDC launched a national e-scooter accident study in March after a request by the Texas health and transportation departments.
The dockless electric scooters and bikes have become a common sight in numerous cities and college towns, according to the report, as venture capital-flush companies such as Bird and Lime aim to solve so-called "last-mile" transportation with rentals.
While Uber and Lyft are effective in taking people longer distances outside of city centers, the ride-hailing services don’t work well in the downtown parts of densely populated cities, where traffic often slows to a crawl.
But along with the new motorized vehicles has come a host of safety problems and complaints about the lack of regulatory oversight, particularly in places without clear rules about where people can ride and park the devices. Injuries are the bigger problem, with some medical professionals warning of a public health crisis. -CNBC
A March CNBC story revealed that trauma centers across the country are experiencing a spike in e-scooter related injuries. The CDC, meanwhile, found that after head injuries - upper extremity fractures came in as the second most common at 27%, followed by lower extremity fractures at 12%. The three-month study found that the e-scooter injury rate is around 14.3 per 100,000 trips, with the median age for those injured at 29.
The majority of injuries occured on the street (duh), with 29% of those experienced by first-time riders. 18% of injuries involved motor vehicles.
"Interventions aimed at these risks and education to first-time riders could potentially reduce injury incidence and severity," reads the report.
Half of those interviewed blamed a "pothole or crack in the street" for their crash, while over 1/3 of those surveyed said they would use a dockless electric scooter again.
The results of the study will be presented by the CDC at the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) annual conference happening right now.
"We hope to build upon the results of this study as more agencies nationwide may use it as a base to expand their research and knowledge about this new mode of transportation," said a spokesperson with the Austin Public Health Department.