Alcohol-Related Scooter Injuries On The Rise Across The US

By Beth Leipholtz 09/17/19

Drugs have also played a role in scooter-related injuries.

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man riding electric scooter
© Andrei Bortnikau | Dreamstime.com

As electric scooters have grown in popularity in cities across the country, alcohol-related injuries are also on the rise. 

According to Today, a recent study determined that 79% of 103 trauma center patients with scooter-related injuries were tested for alcohol, and of those, 48% had a blood alcohol level greater than the legal limit of 0.08%. 

It's Not Just Alcohol

Drugs have also played a role in scooter-related injuries, as 60% of the same 103 patients were tested for drugs and 52% had them in their system. 

“We were surprised by the number of patients who were intoxicated with alcohol or illicit mind-altering substances,” Dr. Leslie Kobayashi of the University of California, San Diego told Reuters

“After a night out isn’t the best time” to use the scooters, Kobayashi added.

As far as the specific injuries of the 103 patients, the most common were leg, ankle and forearm fractures. Other common injuries were facial fractures, intracranial hemorrhages and concussions. According to Reuters, about one-third of the patients needed surgery and eight were admitted to the ICU. 

Cities & States Address Scooter Safety

In some cities, Today reports, steps are being taken to keep scooter safety at the forefront. In Los Angeles in September 2018, a 28-year-old man was penalized for driving under the influence after hitting a pedestrian while riding a scooter. 

Wearing a helmet while riding is another suggested safety precaution. However, most riders do not choose to do so. Of the 103 patients treated for scooter-related injuries, 98% did not have a helmet on. 

Some states, however, are making helmets mandatory For example, in New Jersey, helmets are required for anyone on a scooter and under age 17.

Some of the main scooter companies are Lime, Bird and B Mobility. After 35-year-old YouTuber Emily Hartridge, who was riding a scooter, collided with a truck in London and died, a government official met with and informed such companies that in the UK, scooters are not permitted on public roads. 

"That’s why every day we’re innovating on technology, infrastructure and education to set the standard for micromobility safety,” a spokesperson for Lime told Today in June. “We appreciate the attention on this very important issue, and we look forward to continue working with the industry, medical community and regulators to create a meaningful ecosystem for this new and evolving technology."

Dr. Kate Douglass, director of the George Washington University Center for Injury Prevention and Control in Washington, D.C., was not involved in the study but tells Reuters that it’s vital for people to educate themselves on riding scooters. 

“We often see people who hit potholes or curbs and end up fracturing their arm or elbow because they fall,” she said in a phone interview. “Use a safety check and practice your brakes and turns. Make sure you know how to use it before you operate it.”

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Beth is a Minnesota girl who got sober at age 20. By day she is a website designer, and in her spare time she enjoys writing about recovery at www.lifetobecontinued.com, doing graphic design and spending time with her boyfriend and three dogs. Find Beth on LinkedInInstagram and Twitter.

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