How electric scooters became a major health problem

In a report published in November 2022, the National Academy of Medicine was moved by the risks involved in this mode of travel, the recent growth of which is explained in particular by the multiplication of offers of rental equipment.

In 2022, 22 accidental deaths due to motorized personal transport devices – which combine, in addition to the electric scooter, the monowheel, the Segway and the hoverboard – were listed on the territory, against ten deaths in 2019, notes the academy, citing road safety figures.

“Late regulations in relation to technological advances and poorly observed by users, added to an often ill-adapted environment”, have made the development of electric scooters “chaotic and a source of increasing accidentality”, continues the academy.

Among the frequent injuries, lesions mainly affect the craniofacial extremity and the limbs, more particularly the upper limb. These locations of injuries result from a forward fall that leaves the head, arms and forearms very exposed. The skull is thus more often affected in scooter accidents than in bicycle accidents where the fall occurs laterally (74% against 43%).

Head trauma, injuries, fractures…

“The main risks incurred in the event of an accident are head trauma or facial injuries, fractures, skin lesions that can leave scars, fractures of the teeth, nose, but also of the collarbone, arm and the forearm”, specifies to AFP Gilles Bagou, resuscitator anesthetist at the samu of Lyon.

Author of a report in 2021 on injuries resulting from scooter accidents in the Rhône, Mr. Bagou points out that the number of accidents was multiplied by 7.3 in this department between 2018 and 2019. “In 2019, out of 1,200 accidents, 3% of users had injuries considered serious and 12% of the injured had to be hospitalized”, he explains. “However, there are means of protection: the helmet and gloves seem to me essential on a scooter to limit the severity of the trauma,” adds the emergency doctor.

But wearing a helmet would still be insufficient. If 86% of scooter owners wear one, only one in ten rental companies wears a helmet, showed a study carried out in 2020 for the French Insurance Federation.

In August 2022, the death of two teenagers Iris and Warren hit while riding a scooter in the city center, had aroused intense emotion in Lyon.

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