Electric Scooter Crashes Significantly Associated With Head and Face Injuries

Dentistry Today


Proper protective equipment, bicycle lanes, and safety polices could help significantly reduce head and face injuries that result from crashes involving electric scooters, according to researchers at the Texas A&M College of Dentistry and the Baylor University Medical Center.

Head and face injuries are common in electric scooter crashes, and the high number of injuries to the arms and legs suggests that patients break their fall during a crash. But breaking a fall is difficult when riders are using their hands to steer the scooter, making riders vulnerable to head and face injuries.

Standing electric rental scooters have become popular in large cities, the researchers noted. But riders are exposed to falls and injuries due to several factors, including ergonomics and bicycle lane availability.

The researchers examined the medical records of 90 patients who visited the emergency department during the first seven months that electric scooters were available in Dallas, starting in July 2019.

Injuries included cuts, concussions, and fractures, and 58% of injuries involved the head and face. Of those injuries, 58% were severe. Although the four scooter companies have a disclaimer requiring riders to wear a helmet, none of the patients did so.

The researchers said that the lack of helmet use and the high number of injuries to the extremities illustrate the need for better communication of the risks that are associated with electric scooter use.

Riders also sign an agreement with the rental companies stating that they won’t drink alcohol while using the scooters, but nearly 18% of the injuries involved alcohol use. Plus, riders share the roads with motor vehicles and sidewalks with pedestrians in cities that lack bicycle lanes.

However, the use of protective equipment and well-regulated bicycle lanes and following safety policies for cyclists and pedestrians could significantly decrease head and face injuries associated with electric scooter use, the researchers concluded.

A special focus on the factors that contribute to traumatic events involving electric scooters such as helmet use, interactions with pedestrians, alcohol, and usage policies will enable best practices for mitigating and treating such injuries, the researchers added.

The study, “Craniofacial Injuries Seen With the Introduction of Bicycle-Share Electric Scooters in an Urban Setting,” was published by the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

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