Scooter crashes quadrupled in U.S. prepandemic

Data Desk

DENVER (KDVR) — New data shows Denver’s mobility goals do add a safety concern, but not mainly due to poor scooter skills.

Police are still searching for the driver responsible for a hit-and-run that resulted in serious injuries for a scooter rider near Capitol Hill.

Consumer Product Safety Commission data tracked national emergency department numbers — such incidents are not uncommon. The study shows emergency department visits for scooter riders more than tripled from 2017-2019.

Scooter use in Denver is encouraged as part of a city-wide push to decrease automobile use through “micromobility.” Companies like Bird and Lime flooded city streets with the e-scooters beginning in 2018.

National emergency department data tracks along this timeline.

In 2017, there were only 7,700 scooter-related emergency department visits nationally. That number jumped to almost 28,000 by 2019.

It isn’t a matter of scooter-fueled brewery crawls, either. More often, these kinds of accidents are a problem with the scooter, not the rider.

CPSC conducted in-depth investigations of 37 scooter incidents — 32 of which were e-scooters — and found the overwhelming majority were not crashes. More likely, the incidents happened from some kind of mechanical failure.

Of e-scooter-related emergency department visits, 50% came from a brake failure. Only three — just one in 10 of the total — came from some user or environmental factor.

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