A new study has found e-scooter riders suffer injuries more frequently per mile traveled than cyclists, but cyclists are three times as likely as scooter riders to be hit by motor vehicles.
The study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that e-scooter riders are twice as likely as bicyclists to get injured because of a pothole or crack in the pavement, or other infrastructure like a signpost or curb.
To explore how e-scooters are affecting road safety, IIHS researchers interviewed more than 100 e-scooter riders whose injuries brought them to the emergency room at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, DC, between March and November 2019.
One study examined how the severity of their injuries varied according to where and how they were injured. A second one compared the rider demographics, usage patterns and injuries to those of 377 bicyclists who were interviewed as part of an earlier study.
Nearly three out of five e-scooter riders were injured riding on the sidewalk — and about a third of the riders were injured in places where sidewalk riding is prohibited. Only about one out of five was injured riding in the bicycle lane, multiuse trail or other off-road location.
“The picture is still not clear when it comes to where scooters should be ridden,” said Jessica Cicchino, IIHS Vice President for Research and lead author of the study.
“Our results suggest that moving scooters off the sidewalk could put riders at risk of more severe injuries, but as things stand they might be suffering these lesser injuries more often.”
The e-scooter riders who were hurt riding in motor vehicle travel lanes were more likely to sustain moderately severe injuries than those hurt riding on sidewalks, bicycle lanes or multiuse trails. Moving vehicles accounted for only 13 percent of the injuries to e-scooter riders, compared with 40 percent for bicycles.