At least 1,500 people were injured in e-scooter-related crashes in America since late 2017 — Consumer Reports


Originally published at:

Bottom line: If the new Consumer Reports study is accurate, far more people have been killed or seriously hurt by electric scooters from Bird, Lime, and other dockless scooter-share companies than anyone realized.


But e-scooters have also proven to be the best technique for getting people to give up regular scooters.


In Washington DC the other month, walking across a street, a lady on a scooter was next to me, not going fast, all of a sudden her board broke in half, she went tumbling… again, not much forward momentum thank goodness. But there ya go, could have been zipping along quicker and snap!

The safety of these items is one thing, but the blight they pose on a city, laying around everywhere was kinda shocking … I was thinking why would a city permit this sort of chaos, at least the bike share systems have locking racks.


From the article, it says Portland measured the rate of e-scooter injuries at 2.2 per 10,000 miles traveled. Compare with 0.1 per 10,000 miles traveled for cars. Need more data, clearly. But 22 times the injury rate seems significant.


This report will be cited in political debate over scooter-sharing in safety management and urban planning policy, that’s for sure.

Not sure this is a bad thing. Motorised scooters should be in bike lanes, and you should be required to wear a helmet to ride them. If it takes several class-action lawsuits to do that, so be it. Seems like a valid use of the court system. These scooter companies are more interested in rental fees than safety.


Clearly getting out of hand…


The 'Oumuamua question has been answered.


Sounds about right, i know there’s been some accidents here in Austin involving the scooters. Our company put out a newsletter telling people not to use them on company time, which i found amusing but apparently someone had and got seriously hurt


Just wait until Consumer Reports finds out about cars!


No automaker would survive in a legal environment where a class-action lawsuit against scooter suppliers was successful. Automakers supply vehicles that are basically designed to be used illegally and unsafely. They even advertise them doing this. There is a century-long history of the consequences of the illegal and unsafe use of the vehicles. No engineering has been applied by car-makers to prevent illegal and unsafe use, in spite of that technology being readily available. Millions of people have been killed and many millions seriously injured. And don’t get me started on the environmental consequences of their industry.

I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but if there is a successful class-action lawsuit against scooter suppliers on the basis of safety, the car industry is basically toast.


What is it for bicycles? A much better comparison.


Clearly, the solution is more regulation. If we redefine what defines a “person” and an “accident” and make them part of the regulations we’ll see those numbers drop.


A slightly deeper and irreverent dive into some scooter injury rates:


To make a fair comparison you’d have to look at injuries per person per mile traveled in each vehicle. I have a hunch cars would still come out safer by that measure, but it would be interesting to run the numbers.


The injury rate per hour of use is also an interesting metric. No one number tells us everything.


I suppose the metric you’d use to quantify relative risk depends on whether you view scooters as an alternative to other forms of transportation or as a recreational activity.


Yes, that’s why no one number tells us everything. It would interesting to compare the rates to that of walking as well.

Think of air travel. Most people might think that a rate per trip was more useful than a rate per km or rate per hour when trying to understand how scared they should be (which is “not at all”). Severity rates are also interesting. Of the injuries, how severe are they? What are the fatality rates?

One metric I’d be interested in for scooters (as compared to cars) is the rate at which the users of the vehicles injure third-parties. For cyclists and walkers, these rates are very, very low, compared to how much drivers kill and injure other people. I’d expect a low rate for scooters, in spite of the frenzy against them. Might be a bit higher than for bikes given the greater mixing of scooters and pedestrians, but then again, scooters are slower. I felt like mixing with pedestrians was very little issue when I tried an e-scooter in Paris. I’m not nearly as comfortable riding a bike in the same proximity to pedestrians on shared-use paths.


I think the difference is (and I am not a traffic engineer or a city planner or a lawyer) that there’s a licensing and compliance system that exists for cars and drivers, not to mention at the very least social structures that provide for the interaction of vehicled and non-vehicled humans. (Don’t get me wrong, cars are still abundantly deadly, but at least there’s a legal framework.)

With scooters, the providers are just dumping a bunch of unregulated and sometimes explicitly illegal devices in cities and just assuming that the municipalities will adjust their codes to accept them and absorb the monetary and social costs that come along with them. There’s a certain brazenness that’s, if not less ethical than car manufacturers, certainly less subtle. At the very least we’ve achieved the current status of cars through generations of evolving social contract – something that’s totally lacking with the scooters.


Ok since we’re comparing them to cars we might as well include vehicle pollutions’ impact on public health and I suspect to that end the scooter trounces the car by a country mile…

ETA and what about all that extra time you spend walking around looking for the scooter because it’s hidden in a bush or a porta potty? That’s gotta be a plus.


I’d contend that the huge amount of evidence, built up over decades, that the legal and social constructs around the use of cars, as well as the accepted general mode of use are so deficient and damaging (lethal, actually), that the carmakers’ continued negligence in failing to address this is even more negligent than that of scooter suppliers. It’s actually worse than “failing to address” in that they are making cars and trucks along a trend on which the legal and safe operating envelope continues to diminish in relation to their ever increasing size, power and speed. A fast car used to only be able to go double the highest speed limits. A fast car can now do 3 or 4 times the maximum speed limits and accelerate to to those illegal speeds far faster. Add the inclusion of ever-more distracting infotainment systems, and I feel it it is increasingly indefensible. Car makers would perhaps say “it’s all on the user - not our fault that people drive the way they do”. But they’d be wrong.