An alarming new UC San Francisco study shows a very disturbing jump in e-scooter injuries, citing a 222% increase from 2014 to 2018.
Worse, nationwide hospital admissions from e-scooter injuries went up a whopping 365% over the same period.
According to the Santa Cruz Sentinel,
“It is a rising public health concern that needs attention,” said Nikan K. Namiri, 22, a medical student at the UCSF School of Medicine and first author of the study, published in Wednesday’s issue of JAMA Surgery. “Injuries and hospitalizations have risen significantly.”
Just one problem.
Everyone who remembers riding an e-scooter in 2014 please raise your hand.
That’s because the first e-scooters didn’t hit the streets mid-2017.
So yeah, if you include those two and a half years when they didn’t even exist, there probably has been a huge increase in injuries.
Something the study’s authors almost acknowledge.
The rise in injuries — from 6 per 100,000 Americans in 2014 to 19 per 100,000 in 2018 — could simply reflect scooters’ growing popularity, Namiri said. Scooters can be unlocked for $1 with a smartphone app, and then costs just 15 cents per minute to ride.
It’s entirely predictable that injuries would increase along with ridership.
In fact, according to a NACTO study, Americans took 38.5 million trips on e-scooters as the industry expanded to around 100 cities in 2018, the first year they were widely available.
So why did the study’s authors go back five years, when there’s really only one year of data?
The authors also decry the lack of helmet use.
In 2018, California loosened safety regulation for scooters, removing the helmet requirement for riders over the age of 18. Scooter rental company Bird, which backed the legislation and lobbied for the change, noted that adult bicyclists are not required to wear helmets – and that more people would ride scooters if helmets weren’t mandated.
“That is not helpful,” said responded Namiri. “People over 18 experience the highest number of injuries. Not wearing a helmet poses a health risk.”
It makes perfect sense that most head injuries would be suffered by people over 18, considering that California requires scooter users to be over the age of 16 and have a driver’s license.
Because there are a hell of a lot more scooter users from 18 up than there are in the two-year age range from 16-17, even if some users are under age.
Then there’s this from the Sentinel story.
According to news reports, at least two Californians have been killed while riding scooters. A 53-year-old man died in San Diego after he lost control and hit a tree. A 41-year-old man died in Santa Monica when he fell off a scooter and was hit by a car.
Never mind that the Santa Monica victim was riding a sit-down mobility scooter when he fell off and was struck by a hit-and-run driver.
Not exactly the sort of e-scooter that’s booming in popularity.
Finally, there’s this, again from the Sentinel.
Meanwhile, the tension between scooter transit and safety is playing out on many city streets. Pedestrians are frustrated by the clutter of abandoned scooters in sidewalks, street corners and doorways, as well as near-miss collisions when riders zip down crowded sidewalks. Cyclists are angered by the addition of motorized traffic to bike lanes. Scooter riders say the real problem is cars — and America’s outmoded transportation infrastructure, with not enough room for everybody.
I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m not the least bit bothered by sharing a bike lane with e-scooters, any more than I am ebikes, skateboards or people in wheelchairs.
And it’s not just scooter users who think the real problem is America’s over-reliance on cars and a shortage of decent infrastructure for anyone who’s not surrounded by a couple tons of glass and steel.
Don’t get me wrong.
E-scooter injuries are a legitimate problem, and people have been killed using them in cities throughout the US. We need valid studies to asses how e-scooters fit into the transportation matrix, and what needs to be done to make the streets safe for everyone.
But what we don’t need is junk science and scare tactics masquerading as legitimate research intended to shape public policy.
Boy, does she get it.
KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis talks with LA Curbed editor Alissa Walker about why Los Angeles continues struggling to cut traffic deaths, despite the city’s Vision Zero program.
Why has LA struggled so much? Alissa Walker of Curbed LA points to two factors: the slow implementation of strategies that have been recommended by LA’s Department of Transportation; and resistance from public officials. LA City Councilmember Gil Cedillo has said he won’t have any road diets in his district. Councilmember John Lee is trying to take out a bike lane in his district in the Valley.
Invest seven minutes of your day and give it a listen.
Scottish stunt cyclist Danny MacAskil works out at the gym.
His way, of course.
The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes goes on.
San Francisco’s notorious driving advocate and his attorney are back and attempting to block plans for a new bike lane, after their farcical suit halted the city’s bike plan for several years.
Good news and bad news from Long Beach, where the city council approved spending $127,000 to study an 8.3-mile bikeway along Orange Ave; the bad news is they want to expand parking in the city, including painting over red curbs. Not exactly the best way to increase safety and fight climate change.
There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a new ebike from a San Diego man with Parkinson’s just hours after he received it.
San Diego’s Planning Commissioner releases video of the hit-and-run crash that nearly killed her as she walked out of a restaurant, saying she’ll be in pain the rest of her life.
A Palm Spring bike rider escaped without serious injuries when he was hit by a driver at N Gene Autry Trail & E Tachevah Drive yesterday evening.
Speaking of a special place in hell, that applies even more to the heartless coward who fled the scene after running down a 93-year old man riding a bike in Goleta; fortunately, he only suffered moderate injuries.
Tragic news from Fresno, where a man was killed in a 1 am hit-and-run while riding his bike on Wednesday; the driver claimed he fled because he he was “threatened by another group of bicyclists” after the crash.
A Modesto man and woman were injured when a hit-and-run driver smashed into the bicycle and homemade trailer they were riding; he suffered serious injuries on the bike, while she suffered minor injuries riding in the trailer. Note to CBS Sacramento — The trailer may have been makeshift, but the bike probably wasn’t.
A Lodi man learned the hard way to obey traffic laws when riding his bike while carrying heroin and a flare gun converted to fire shotgun shells.
Singletracks offers ten arguments to try to convince someone you need a new mountain bike. Add one more — as midlife crises go, it’s pretty tame.
Seriously, who doesn’t want good cup of coffee with your new bike?
Who knew he had a sense of humor? Not only is Justin Bieber one of us, his Insta feed is full of images of him falling off his bike. Sort of.
Motley Fool says Peloton stocks can go a long way even with the company selling indoor bikes for two grand.
Forget the skis and snowboards. Just take your fat bike on your next winter trip to Tahoe.
Phoenix police fatally shot a man who led two officers on a chase on his bicycle, attempting to wrestle away the man’s gun before he fired a shot during the struggle, and was shot in return.
Dang. The owner of my favorite Denver bike shop is selling the business to his managers and retiring. I know damn well Alan Fine wouldn’t remember me from when I lived there, but that was one hell of a shop he had back then.
Apparently, Omaha, Nebraska’s only bike corral was removed on a whim, with no stats or study to support the decision to replace it with a single parking space.
A 17-year old Allen TX bike rider was lucky to escape without serious injuries when he was shot in the arm and leg from a passing car in an apparent random attack; an SUV was also struck by the gunfire, muddying the question of who was the intended target.
A writer for Chicago’s Streetsblog says it’s time to stop coddling drivers, and build a citywide protected bike lane network. Which applies equally well right here in Los Angeles,. If not more.
Nice story from Indianapolis, where two bighearted cops bought a new bike for a little girl after learning she didn’t get anything for Christmas because her parents couldn’t afford to buy gifts this year.
An Indiana cop was allegedly speeding and texting when she crashed into a woman riding her bicycle one five years ago; the case is just now going to the jury.
New York’s governor is calling for the legalization of throttle-controlled ebikes for delivery workers, saying it’s a social justice issue. Never mind that he just vetoed a bill to do exactly that.
A New Jersey man got a well-deserved 19 years behind bars after he was busted with the bicycle he stole from a special needs man — then threatened the victim with a hammer after spotting him with the bike a month later.
Maybe there’s hope for LA yet. After suffering the humiliation of being named the nation’s worst bike city, Memphis TN has added 270 miles of bike lanes in the last ten years. Unfortunately, Los Angeles city officials couldn’t seem to care less that the city is the current holder of that dubious title.
Now that’s more like it. A Louisiana man was sentenced to eight years behind bars for killing a man riding a bike while driving drunk and stoned. Although I always wonder if a white driver would have gotten a lighter sentence for the same crime.
Bicycling harks back to the unlamented days of Cycle Chic, with a look at how five people developed their signature bicycle fashion.
Road.cc considers that not everyone can, or wants to, spend several thousand on a new bicycle by naming their Bike of the Year for under £1000 — the equivalent of $1,3000. The winning bike sells for less than $700, while one of the runner-ups retails for just $520.
Seriously, what kind of schmuck steals 30 bicycles from a Kiwi bike co-op dedicated to refurbishing bikes to get more people riding — including a handmade mini-Penny Farthing made from recycled parts?
A New Zealand bike rider was seriously injured when he was somehow run over by another bicyclist; there may or may not have been a car involved.
Apparently suffering from a bad case of windshield bias, a Kiwi columnist says she’s got nothing against bicyclists — except that bike tourists should be banned from highways, so they won’t inconvenience people like her.
An Aussie bike rider got a whopping $915 ticket for riding on a sidewalk, not stopping for a red light and failing to wear a helmet, which is required Down Under. The good news is, that’s only $615 US.
An American bicyclist visits Japan, and raves about the people, the riding, and roads like poetry.
A Chinese website says that despite the growing popularity of bicycling in the country, there are significant roadblocks to overcome before it can reclaim its title as the Bicycle Kingdom.
The final two wildcard teams are announced, completing the lineup for this year’s Tour de France.
Time to start training to be America’s first Gran Fondo National champ.
And forget ebikes. Now you, too, can build your very own steam-powered steampunk bicycle.