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Is it safer for you to ride an electric scooter or a bicycle?

Hundreds of bicyclists die in crashes every year in the U.S. However, there is not a lot of data available about the dangers of electric scooters (or e-scooters). These scooters are a popular option, especially in Southern California. Are they any safer than bicycles?

Are more people injured on scooters than bicycles?

It is difficult to accurately report on the injury rates associated with scooters in the U.S. Sometimes the injuries are not categorized correctly, or reports fail to include important details such as helmet use. In LA alone, 250 people went to the emergency room with scooter-related injuries in just one year.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is using the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System to collect data from different states to understand scooters’ danger to the public. However, this system is imperfect and will be affected by other products such as skateboards and non-motorized scooters.

Californians are at an increased risk for injury because local government recently struck down the law requiring the use of a helmet while riding a scooter. Other cities and states have helmet laws for scooters, skateboarders, rollerblading, bicyclists and motorcyclists. Some scooter rental companies require you to agree to wear a helmet, but this is difficult to enforce.

What can be done reduce the risk of injury?

Rather than banning scooters, cities may benefit from adapting to personal motorized transportation. More on that in another blog. However, using scooters safely is essential to reducing your risk of injury. For example:

  • Children should not use adult-sized rental scooters.
  • Two adults should not ride one scooter
  • No one should ride a scooter while intoxicated.

Also, people over the age of forty may be at an increased risk for injury if they haven’t used a scooter before or have trouble with their balance.

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