E-scooter rentals are typically concentrated in urban entertainment districts and around college campuses. Most electric scooter users are young adults, particularly young men. It should surprise no one that many scooter riders have been drinking alcohol when they get into scooter accidents, as a recent study confirmed.
NBC’s Today show reports that a new study “found that out of 103 patients treated at three trauma centers for e-scooter-related injuries, 79% of the patients were tested for alcohol and 48% of those tested were found to have a blood-alcohol level above the legal threshold for drunk driving charges in almost every state.
“It’s not just alcohol that has impaired scooter users and led to injuries. Sixty percent of the 103 patients in the study were also screened for drugs, and 52% of them tested positive,” the Today report says.
The study’s authors are affiliated with the University of California San Diego Health System, Scripps Mercy Hospital, San Diego, and Dell Seton Medical Center, Austin, Texas. They write that they sought to examine the incidence of injury, helmet use, presence of drug and alcohol intoxication, and injury patterns among patients admitted to hospitals for trauma related to e-scooter accidents.
The researchers concluded that:
- E-scooter-related injuries have significantly increased over time.
- Alcohol and illicit substance use among e-scooter accident patients were common.
- Helmet use was extremely rare.
- Significant injuries, including traumatic brain injuries and fractures requiring surgery, were present in over half (51%) of patients.
- Interventions aimed at increasing helmet use and discouraging e-scooter operation while intoxicated are necessary to reduce e-scooter-related injuries.
E-scooter Accidents, Deaths and Drunk Driving Charges
The study authors noted the surge in popularity of e-scooters after their introduction to major urban areas around the USA in 2017. Within a year, “3.6% of all U.S. adults had ridden an e-scooter, and by the end of 2018 two of the largest e-scooter companies — Lime and Bird — reported a combined 36 million rides.”
E-scooters are rented for use via a phone app and have a narrow platform where the rider stands with one foot in front of the other. The scooters travel at speeds up to approximately 15 miles per hour.
E-scooters came to Indiana in September 2018 with the introduction of about 3,000 Bird and Lime scooters to Indianapolis streets. The city approved the addition of 1,200 more Spin scooters to city streets in March 2019.
By November 2018, Indianapolis emergency rooms were seeing up to 60 injuries a month because of Bird scooter accidents.
In June, the Associated Press said a review of media reports turned up at least 11 electric scooter rider deaths in the U.S. since the beginning of 2018. Nine were on rented scooters and two on ones the victims owned.
“E-scooters may look like fun and games, but it’s a vehicle. It’s a motor attached to wheels, and you need to have a healthy respect for it,” Dr. Leslie Kobayashi, the San Diego hospitals study’s lead author, told UPI. “Anyone drinking or using any mind-altering substance should not be operating an e-scooter.”
A man who crashed an e-scooter into a police officer in Denver, Colorado, on September 14 was charged with DUI in addition to other charges and hospitalized with unspecified injuries. The police officer was standing on a sidewalk working the crowd at a Rockies baseball game and suffered a sprained thumb and scraped knee.
In New Mexico, last May, a 27-year-old woman riding the wrong way on a one-way street became the first person accused of driving drunk on an electric scooter in Albuquerque. Court records show that she registered a 0.20 blood-alcohol concentration (BAC). In September, she was allowed to plead guilty to disorderly conduct, and the DWI charge, her first, was dismissed, KRQE News 13 reported.
Electric Scooter Accidents And Helmet Use
The San Diego hospital study, which found only two injured e-scooter riders out of 103 were wearing helmets, is not the only one with such results. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Austin (Texas) Public Health said only one of 190 scooter riders injured in accidents in Austin from September through November 2018 was wearing a helmet.
“Almost half of the injured riders in this study sustained an injury to the head,” the Austin Public Health researchers wrote. “A traumatic brain injury was experienced by 15%.”
A Rutgers University study published in June says facial and head injuries suffered while riding electric scooters have tripled in the past decade. “Closed head injuries, such as concussion and bleeding or bruising of the brain, were most frequent, followed by facial cuts or abrasions,” the study says.
Amishav Bresler, a co-author of the study and resident at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, said, “In 2000, Italy implemented a law mandating helmet use for all types of recreational scooter drivers – legislation that reduced head trauma in scooter riders from about 27 out of 10,000 people before the law passed to about 9 out of 10,000 people afterward.”
The Austin Public Health researchers also said more than one-third (37%) of injured riders reported that excessive e-scooter speed contributed to their injury and a third of the interviewed riders were injured during their first e-scooter ride.
Twenty-nine percent of scooter riders in Austin reported drinking an alcoholic beverage in the 12 hours preceding their injury.
While more than half of the interviewed riders were injured while riding a scooter in the street, a few (10%) sustained injuries by colliding with a motor vehicle. Half of the injured riders said a surface condition like a pothole or crack in the street may have contributed to their injury.
Contact a Scooter Accident Lawyer in Indiana
If you have been injured in an accident that involved an e-scooter in Indianapolis that was not your fault, you should speak to a personal injury attorney to understand your legal rights. Our scooter and moped accident attorneys stand up for injured Hoosiers and fight insurance companies that deny injury claims.
We are prepared to pursue full compensation for you, whether your injury was caused by a negligent e-scooter rider, an automobile driver, a government agency that did not adequately maintain roadways or the manufacturers of dangerous e-scooters.
Contact Craig, Kelley, and Faultless, LLC, as soon as possible after being injured or losing a loved one in an e-scooter accident in Indiana for a free, no-obligation legal consultation. Our attorneys have helped thousands of people who have been seriously injured and the families of those killed in vehicle accidents. We can help you, too.