202

E-scooters lead to more than 1,000 injuries in US, Consumer Reports finds

FILE - In this Tuesday, June 26, 2018 photo, a man parks his rented dockless scooter outside of a restaurant in Atlanta. Cities across the U.S. are grappling with how to deal with electric scooters that have begun appearing in sidewalks overnight without any regulations. Lawsuits and cease-and-desist orders have quickly followed the arrival of California-based companies, Bird Rides Inc., LimeBike and Spin. Milwaukee will ask a judge Friday, July 12, 2018, to order Bird to remove their scooters.(AP Photo/Brinley Hineman, File)

WASHINGTON — More than 1,000 people in the past two years have been injured while riding dockless electric scooters that have popped up in D.C. and in most major U.S. cities, according to a new study by Consumer Reports.

“We contacted hospitals in several dozen cities,” said Ryan Felton with Consumer Reports, a nonprofit group that provides product ratings and reviews.

“There have been at least 1,500 injuries since the scooters were introduced in the fall of 2017.”

The study examined not only hospitals but also public agencies, such as police departments.

There have been widespread safety concerns related to the e-scooters made by companies such as Lime, Bird and Skip. The scooters have two small wheels and can get up to around 15 mph.

“These are really injuries waiting to happen,” Dr. Robert Shesser told WTOP in an October interview.

Shesser, who chairs the Department of Emergency Medicine at George Washington University, said the scooters are “too fast for the sidewalk and too slow for the street.”

He said the District has seen a “large number of upper extremity injuries” since the scooters arrived.

In September, a 20-year-old Lime scooter rider died when he was struck and dragged by an SUV in the Dupont Circle area.

“It could just a broken bone, but some of the doctors we spoke to said they’ve treated patients for some serious debilitating injuries,” Felton said.

Although Consumer Reports uncovered 1,500 injuries nationwide, researchers said the actual figure is most certainly much higher than that. The scooters are so new that many hospitals and emergency rooms are not able to accurately count specific scooter-related incidents.

“About half the hospitals we spoke to said that they don’t actually have the capability to track the injuries at this point,” said Felton.

Companies that make the scooters urge their riders to wear helmets. They also include basic safety instructions and advice on their apps and websites.

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

© 2019 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.