The first-ever CDC scooter study will look at how scooter accidents can be prevented. The scooter study was launched in December when three CDC epidemiologists spent two weeks in Austin, TX reviewing incidents and scooter-related injuries during a 60-day period from September to November. They began contacting the 258 individuals identified through EMS calls or who visited emergency rooms with a scooter-related injury. Findings from this study will likely be released in March and could have far-reaching effects as cities such as Atlanta across the country grapple with reports of injuries from these e-scooters.
“We don’t know if there’s something unique about Austin or the population there that may be different from other parts of the United States or globally,” said the chief of the Atlanta-based CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service, which is conducting the probe. “The rate of scooter injuries in Austin may be consistent with what’s being noticed in other places, or it may be much higher.” In Atlanta, the number of injuries per month has increased from about 30 to about 100, said the chief of emergency medicine at Grady Health System, which includes Grady Memorial Hospital, the largest hospital in Georgia. Grady, which is among the nation’s busiest Level 1 trauma centers, is looking at the rise and scope of scooter injuries as a new internal project. “I’m concerned people are riding these things without helmets and on roads in busier traffic,” he said “As opposed to motorcycles, these wheels are pretty small. Certainly, hitting a pothole can send someone over.” This is a big distinction for a number of reasons, not only are the scooter wheels much smaller, the riders are not familiar with the scooters (as they would be with their own bicycle, scooter or motorcycle) which tends to lead to unsafe conditions. Couple this with questionable inspection and maintenance programs for some of the scooter companies and the rise in accidents is certain to continue.
We have seen a spike in the number of serious injuries on e-scooter such as Lime and Bird, especially on and around college campuses such as Emory, Georgia State University and Oglethorpe. Many students rely on these scooters as stop-gap transportation but fully appreciate the dangers associated with them.