Severity of e-scooter rider injuries associated with trip characteristics

Cicchino, Jessica B. / Kulie, Paige E. / McCarthy, Melissa L.
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
October 2020

Introduction: E-scooter rider injuries have been growing, but little is known about how trip and incident characteristics contribute to their severity.
Method: We enrolled 105 adults injured while riding e-scooters who presented to an emergency department in Washington, DC, during 2019. Enrolled participants completed an interview during the emergency department visit, and their charts were abstracted to document their injuries and treatment. Logistic regression examined the association of incident location and circumstances with the likelihood of sustaining an injury on the Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) >= 2, while controlling for rider characteristics.
Results: The most common locations of e-scooter injuries in our study sample occurred on the sidewalk (58%) or road (23%). Accounting for age, sex, and riding frequency, e-scooter riders injured on the road were about twice as likely as those injured elsewhere to sustain AIS >= 2 injuries (RR, 1.96; 95% CI, 1.23–2.36). Ten percent were struck by motor vehicles, and this was associated with lower risk of AIS >= 2 injuries (RR, 0.19; 95% CI, 0.02–1.10).
Conclusions: Greater injury severity for riders injured on the road may reflect higher travel speeds. Practical applications: Injury severity associated with riding in the road is one factor that jurisdictions can consider when setting policy on where e-scooters should be encouraged to ride, but the risk of any crash or fall associated with facilities should also be examined. Although injuries are of lower severity on sidewalks, sharing sidewalks with slower moving pedestrians could potentially lead to more conflicts.