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Two new studies from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety looked at injuries from electric scooter [] riders

Electric scooters (e-scooters) have proliferated in cities in recent years across the country, but although they offer a range of benefits – from the promotion of exercise and cleaner air to reducing transport costs and offering a socially distant alternative to the bus or metro, there are some drawbacks

Riding electric scooters in traffic can lead to dangerous accidents with motor vehicles, and driving them on sidewalks can endanger walkers

Two new studies have explored the safety of electric scooter riders by examining where and how they were injured and in relation to cyclists

The study was published earlier this month by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a non-profit organization funded by the insurance industry Injuries of electric scooter riders were more common than those of cyclists, but they tended to be less severe, perhaps because most injuries to electric scooter riders occurred on sidewalks.

“We haven’t seen a lot of electric scooter accidents with motor vehicles, and this may be due to motorcyclists mainly sticking to the sidewalk,” Jessica Cicchino, vice president of research at The Insurance Institute and lead author of the studies, said in a statement “On the flip side, there are legitimate concerns that sidewalk drivers could crash into pedestrians”

Institute researchers surveyed more than 100 electric cyclists whose injuries landed them in the emergency room Overall, studies found electric scooter riders were injured more frequently per kilometer traveled than cyclists , but cyclists were three times more likely than scooter riders to be struck by motor vehicles In contrast, riders of e-scooters were twice as likely as cyclists to be injured due to a pothole or crack in the roadway or other infrastructure such as a sign or sidewalk.

Almost three in five electric scooter riders were injured on the sidewalk – and about a third were injured in areas where sidewalk riding was prohibited; only about one in five was injured while riding on the bike path, on a multi-use trail or in another off-road location

Previous research has indicated that most electric scooter riders prefer to use cycle lanes, but the Insurance Institute’s findings showed that one was rarely available in cases where the cyclists were injured on the road or sidewalk, highlighting the need for more protected cycle lanes and other infrastructure improvements

Speed, both on cycle lanes and on sidewalks, as well as the use of helmets were also discussed (Slower speeds in cycle lanes relate to cyclists who usually travel at higher speeds , but faster speeds are a concern for pedestrians) Among those treated in emergencies, only 2% of injured e-scooter riders reported wearing a helmet, compared to 66% of cyclists

Research has found that while curbside driving can be controversial, “it protects electric scooter riders from collisions with motor vehicles.” However, many cities have adopted sidewalk restrictions or ordinances and pedestrian zones that limit their use or prohibit themFor example, Denver and San Antonio have completely banned electric scooters on sidewalks, institute said

“The picture is still not clear when it comes to where the scooters should be ridden,” said Cicchino “Our results suggest that moving the scooters off the curb could expose cyclists to more injury. serious, but as it is, they could suffer from these less severe injuries more often”

Experience was seen as a factor in safety results Almost 40% of respondents were injured on their first trip On the other hand, among cyclists interviewed in emergency rooms, 80% said they cycle most days of the week during their main driving season

“Learning to drive events, coupled with continued practice, can help individuals develop their skills and reduce their risk of accidents,” the Governors Highway Safety Association said in a statement, noting increased need for driver training programs

“As travel has increased so does the risk of accidents too, with hospitals reporting triple-digit spikes in electric scooter injuries and hospitalizations,” numbers that may even be higher due to underreporting, said the security group, which released a report in September on micro mobility

Tanya Mohn covers road safety and consumer travel issues for Forbes She is a regular contributor to The New York Times and has reported for the BBC, NBC News, ABC

Tanya Mohn covers road safety and consumer travel issues for Forbes She is a regular contributor to The New York Times and has reported for the BBC, NBC News, ABC News, PBS, HBO and CNBC She recently received a World Health Organization International Center for Journalists’ Safety Reporting Fellowship and an award for her road safety reporting from the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT) Follow her on Twitter @tanya_mohn


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