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Home > Estimated incidence of electric scooter injuries in the US from 2014 to 2019.

Farley, Kevin Xavier and Aizpuru, Matthew and Wilson, Jacob M and Daly, Charles A and Xerogeanes, John and Gottschalk, Michael B and Wagner, Eric R (2020) Estimated incidence of electric scooter injuries in the US from 2014 to 2019. JAMA Network Open , 3 , (8) , e2014500.


Introduction: In late 2017, scooter-share companies began distributing electric scooters (e-scooters) in major cities, leading to an increase in their use. Data from the 2019 United States Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) have recently become available, allowing continued analysis of nationwide trends in e-scooter injuries since the widespread expansion of scooter-share services. The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to assess the incidence of and trends among e-scooter injuries in the US from 2014 to 2019. 

Results: There were an estimated 70 644 (95% CI, 53 838-87 448) ED visits for e-scooter–related injuries from 2014 to 2019. The mean (SD) age of those injured was 31.3 (21.24) years (95% CI, 29.4-33.2 years), and 63.9% were men. The estimated number of ED visits for e-scooter injuries increased from 4881 (95% CI, 4086-5676) in 2014 to 29 628 (95% CI, 14 919-44 338) in 2019, with an increase from 8269 visits (95% CI, 5409-11 130 visits) in 2017 to 15 522 visits (95% CI, 8280-22 763 visits) in 2018. The population-adjusted incidence increased from 1.53 per 100 000 capita (95% CI, 1.28-1.78 per 100 000 capita) in 2014 to 9.22 per 100 000 capita (95% CI, 4.64-13.79 per 100 000 capita) in 2019 (Figure). Incident ED visits for e-scooter–related injuries increased most substantially among individuals aged 15 to 24 years and 25 to 39 years (Figure, Table). 

The head was the most common site of injury (27.1% of all injuries). Approximately 50% of head injuries included diagnoses that suggested a traumatic brain injury (a head injury with a concomitant diagnosis of a concussion, internal organ injury, fracture, anoxia, or hemorrhage), constituting 14.5% of the total injury pool. Of patients presenting with a potential traumatic brain injury, 17.4% were admitted to the hospital compared with 7.7% of patients without this diagnosis (P < .001). In 2019, an estimated 2656 (95% CI, 494-4818) e-scooter injuries involved substance use, with 88.1% involving alcohol (Table). 

Discussion: The estimated incidence of e-scooter injuries treated in EDs in the US nearly doubled between 2018 and 2019 despite various regulatory efforts and evidence highlighting this issue. Head injuries were the most common cause of visits to the ED, and traumatic brain injuries were prevalent among those injured. These results are troubling given that helmets are used by a minority of riders, helmet requirements have been eliminated in some areas, and riders often misunderstand road traffic laws that guide e-scooter use. 

Limitations of this study include possible underestimation of injuries, a lack of data outside ED visits, and the absence of information on helmet use. Estimates with fewer than 1200 weighted cases may be unstable. Furthermore, the weighted estimates presented here may not represent the true national incidence of scooter injuries seen in the ED, because scooters are unlikely to be equally distributed across sampled areas. Strengths include the use of a nationally representative data set. 

The estimated incidence of e-scooter–related injuries seen in EDs increased between 2014 and 2019; thus, this appears to be an important public health issue. Continued efforts should be made to investigate strategies, such as required helmet use, enforcement of laws against riding under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and e-scooter safety education, to potentially mitigate the most serious injuries and keep riders safe.

Item Type
Publication Type
International, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
3 August 2020
Identification #
doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.14500
Page Range
American Medical Association

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