As the city of Chicago continues the second year of its electronic scooter pilot program, fleets of the small, convenient vehicles have become widely available in other cities around the country as well. The explosion in popularity of e-scooters has created challenges for municipal regulators as they struggle to keep up with safety concerns and the impact of the scooters on city traffic patterns. According to a new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), there are several factors that contribute to the likelihood of being injured on or around e-scooters.
Lack of Clear Rules
Electric scooters represent a relatively new phenomenon, and city planners and policymakers are playing “catch-up” in many cities. This means that too often, scooters are made available and are being used without consistent policies and rules in place regarding how to ride with safety as the top priority. The IIHS study found that e-scooter riders suffer more injuries per mile ridden than bicycle riders and were two times more likely to be hurt by potholes, lampposts, and cracks in the pavement. Bike riders, however, were three times more likely to be hit by a car. Thus, clear and consistent policies are extremely important for keeping riders and pedestrians safe.
Riding on Sidewalks
One of the biggest areas of concern is in regard to where e-scooters should be ridden. According to the IIHS, the jury is still out on whether it is actually safer to ride on sidewalks or on the road. The study found that riding on sidewalks creates more opportunities for the riders to be hurt, but riding on the road increases the chances of more severe injuries. Bicycle lanes may offer a potential solution, but combining e-scooters and bicycles—which usually travel at faster speeds—in one lane has risks as well. In the city of Chicago, e-scooters are not allowed to be ridden on sidewalks, so riders must use roadways and bicycle lanes.
Not Wearing a Helmet
The IIHS study also looked at the use of helmets when riding e-scooters. A mere 2 percent of scooter riders who participated in the study said they wore helmets, while two-thirds of injured bicycle riders reported wearing a helmet. As a result, e-scooter riders were more likely than bike riders to experience skull fractures or to be knocked out in an accident.
The main issue with helmets is one of logistics. The companies that provide scooters would have trouble with providing shared helmets, and those who use the scooters are not very likely to carry a helmet around with them all day, just in case they decide to use an e-scooter.
There is also the problem of experience. Most people learn to ride a bicycle as a child, and safety-related skills are refined over time. With e-scooters emerging so quickly after their introduction, virtually nobody has any real experience with them. In fact, the IIHS study included reports from injured scooter riders, 40 percent of whom said they were injured on their very first ride. As e-scooter use becomes more popular, riders will gain experience, but new riders will always be at an increased risk for injury.
A Chicago E-Scooter Injury Lawyer Can Help
If you were injured by someone else’s negligence while you were riding an e-scooter, or a careless rider injured you as a pedestrian, you may be entitled to collect compensation for your injuries. Contact an experienced Illinois electric scooter injury attorney for skilled guidance and representation in your case. Call 312-804-6102 for a free consultation at Livas Law Group, A Division of Kralovec, Jambois & Schwartz today.