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More than 1,500 mishaps linked to e-scooters in the US since 2017: report

Washington

MORE than 1,500 people have been treated for injuries from using battery-powered electric scooters in the United States since the craze began in late 2017, a Consumer Reports survey showed.

The non-profit consumer magazine said its tally, based on reports from hospitals and emergency officials, is incomplete and does not include four reported fatalities linked to e-scooters. Still, it counted 1,542 cases of emergency treatment for scooter-related injuries after contacting 110 hospitals and five agencies in 47 cities where the two biggest scooter companies operate. Consumers can rent them for short trips and drop them off when done - in a business model that has been hailed as a revolution in public transport.

But a number of media reports have highlighted the potential dangers of scooter use on sidewalks or city streets. This week, an exchange student on a scooter was killed in a collision with a car in Austin, Texas, it was reported.

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Consumer Reports said hospitals treated people for concussions, fractures and other injuries. E-scooter firms urge users to wear helmets, but few regulations require them.

The magazine said more than half of those contacted in the survey had no detailed data for scooter injuries and that it was not possible to calculate the rate of incidents for distance travelled. It said many medical professionals suggested the total number of injuries is higher that the reported figure because hospitals don't yet track specific scooter-related injuries.

Two US-based startups, Bird and Lime, have been growing rapidly, including internationally, and have reached valuations of more than US$1 billion. Others in the segment include ride-sharing group Lyft, the Ford-backed Spin and Skip. AFP