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Electric scooters are showing up across America and scooter riders are showing up in emergency rooms in those same cities.
Now some trauma doctors and hospitals are calling the scooters a public health hazard.
Last summer, Tim Belda crashed his e-scooter to avoid hitting his buddy.
Tim Belda said, “My foot just took all of the pressure and broke my leg, broke my ankle, and broke part of my foot.“
After two surgeries and physical therapy, Tim does yoga to stretch injured ligaments and tendons.
Trauma Doctor Vishal Bansal sees cases like Tim’s several times a week at Scripps Mercy Hospital.
Vishal Bansal, MD, FACS, Chief of Trauma, Scripps Mercy Hospital said, “The vast majority of these scooter injuries are orthopedic or brain injury. The brain injury can be anything from a mild concussion to a severe traumatic brain injury where they’re in the hospital or ICU for weeks and weeks and weeks.“
Riders aren’t the only ones getting hurt.
Ashley DeLaHunt, RN, Trauma Nurse Team Leader, Scripps Mercy Hospital said, “He didn’t know the scooter was coming, you can’t hear them, and it hit him and he fell and broke his arm and hit his head and ended up with significant injuries.“
Doctor Bansal says most of the injured are male, riding at night, without helmets, and are intoxicated.
He’s dismayed the California legislature just scrapped a helmet law, ignoring 30 years of injury prevention research.
Doctor Bansal said, “We’ve taken all that data, all that knowledge, all the hours and hours of taking care of these patients and throw them away.“
He and Tim are concerned riders don’t take electric scooters seriously enough.
Tim Belda said, “It looks like a toy, it’s really not a toy. You know, it’s a motorized vehicle and should be treated as such.“
The first study on serious scooter injuries in the journal of the American Medical Association’s Network open showed 40 percent were head trauma and 32 percent were bone fractures.
The two largest E-Scooter companies, lime and bird, are trying to boost safety by offering free helmets you can order.