Electric motorized scooters (e-scooters) have become a popular mode of transportation in many cities across the nation. Now private e-scooter sharing companies have their sights set on Des Moines where hundreds of e-scooters may soon be available for rent across the metro.
While many welcome new options in transportation to get from here to there or just to explore the city, others have safety concerns. Adding motorized scooters to the mix of motor vehicle, bus, bicycle and pedestrian traffic have many worried that injury accidents will increase.
Some say the up side of motorized e-scooters is that more people will get outside. E-scooters can also bridge the gap by providing needed transportation to connect to bus stops that can be at a considerable distance for some.
Potential downsides include safety issues for riders, other motorists and pedestrians. Cities where e-scooters have proliferated have noted problems such as e scooters being driven on sidewalks, lack of helmet use, and scooters blocking walkways when not in use. More seriously, there have been a number of e-scooter accidents resulting in serious injury that have many wondering if they really are such a good idea.
A recent study shows nearly half of people who are injured in e-scooter accidents sustain a head injury, with 15 percent suffering a traumatic brain injury. Other severe injuries include bone fractures, nerve, tendon or ligament injuries, organ damage and severe bleeding when accidents occur.
Over half of the injuries happen in the street with many involving other motor vehicles. Roughly a third of those injured in e-scooter accidents are hurt on a sidewalks, while a smaller percentage are injured after hitting a curb or colliding with an inanimate object such as a light pole.
A third of riders who sustained injuries did so on their very first e-scooter ride, despite completing a required safety tutorial. The potential for injuries only goes up when riders do not wear helmets or engage in distracted and impaired driving.
Advice coming from cities who have already seen a proliferation in e scooters is that planning is key. After considering the pros and cons and what it will take to keep everyone safe, metro cities still have the final word on whether e scooters will be welcome in their neck of the woods. The Des Moines City Council plans to consider e-scooters this month.
If you or a family member are injured in an e-scooter, moped, motorcycle, car or pedestrian accident, contact the personal injury attorneys of Stoltze & Stoltze at 515-244-1473.