One in 5,000 e-scooter rides ends in injury, half to the head

Originally published at:

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One in 5,000 e-scooter rides ends in injury, half to the head

That’s why they call it a scooter, really.

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This isn’t helping.


Always wear a helmet, because the road doesn’t care what you fell off of.


Notice that injuries to non-riders are not included.
(I guess that they are not covered by the injury waiver/EULA on the rental app.)


I can’t get over the fact that I occasionally ride my bike to work and grown ass adults would tease me about wearing a helmet. It’s a software shop. We make money using our heads. The devs 10 years younger than me thought helmets looked silly. The dev 15 years older than me? says “yeah I should wear a helmet” (he’d ride his bike to work too) but wouldn’t.

Why are so many people so fucking dumb.
/end tangential rant


Do you wear a helmet to walk? If not, then you’re not in fact talking about “always”, you’re taking into account some measure of the raw, unadjusted, likelihood of a crash and ensuing head injury, and deciding which of those those likelihoods to adjust with some compensating control like a helmet.

But, have you compared the raw, unadjusted, likelihoods of crashes leading to head injuries of all activities you do, to set a threshold of likelihood above which you consistently wear a helmet and below which you don’t?

I’ve tried to do so, which is why I don’t generally wear a helmet to bicycle - beause I’ve compared the best studies I could find on unadjusted rates of head injury per (various denominators - hour of activity, km travelled, etc.), and found the statistics didn’t justify wearing a helmet to ride a bike and then taking it off to do… well, basically anything else. Specifically including walking.

Now, one head injury per 10,000 exposures is pretty darn high, so I’d wear a helmet to ride one of those things too (mind you, one injury to the remainder of the body per 10,000 exposures is high enough that I’d mostly avoid the activity altogether, particularly since I already have a bike).

I don’t bug people for wearing a helmet to cycle, but I very definitely don’t bug people for NOT wearing a helmet to cycle. Because the health benefits of riding a bike so very far outstrip the difference between wearing a helmet and not, and I don’t want to contribute to anyone choosing not to ride.


So, anybody got the stats for injuries in similar modes of transportation like biking, skateboarding or the lot? What’s the use of having a datapoint if there’s nothing to compare it to?


Swimming? Why do you need to compare to other modes to decide to limit injuries here?

Here’s the best I’ve got, which is specific to fatalities, not injuries unfortunately, so not the greatest comparison. But it at least gives a baseline of walking, cycling, and driving, so if someone finds a good comparison of scooters to any of those then it gives one a place to start with ranking the other two.
Context: British Columbia 2005 - 2007 (bicycle helmet use fairly common, mountain biking a lot of overall “cycling” because BC)

Fatalities per million trips
cyclist 0.14
pedestrian 0.15
motor vehicle occupant 0.10

Abstract at Head injuries and bicycle helmet laws - ScienceDirect
Full paper last I checked at
Context: Australia 1980s (bicycle helmet use practically unheard of, motorcycle helmets mandatory since 1972)

Fatalities per million hours
cyclist 0.41 (46% from Head Injury = 0.18)
pedestrian 0.80 (43% from HI = 0.34)
motor vehicle occupant 0.46 (36% from HI = 0.17)
motor cyclist 7.66 (83% from HI = 6.4)

Assuming walking happens at 5 km/hr, cycling at a sedate 15, substantially all driving is in cities at about 50, and motorcyclists speed so call it 60, that gives:

fatalities per million km
cyclist 0.027 (0.012 from HI)
pedestrian 0.16 (0.068 from HI)
motor vehicle occupant 0.0092 (0.0034 from HI)
motor cyclist 0.128 (0.108 from HI)

How do you decide when it’s safe to take your helmet off?


I wear it when I drive my Dodge.


I wear it to drive the Ram, but not the Dodge. I mean, it’s right there in the name.


One in every one e-scooter ride ends in fun however


Protect the head, indeed.

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0.9998 in one.

Actually, the study only includes injuries serious enough to end in emergency departments, so may not include a lot of sprained wrists, cracked ribs, road rash, etc.


No one said good times were free!


I have seen many, many people riding these. Not one wore a helmet

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I actually witnessed a scooter malfunction last evening that ended with a minor injury, but it was only road rash so I doubt it was reported to anybody but the scooter rider’s friends. It was a clear case of mechanical failure – I was looking right at the front wheel of the scooter as it entered a cobblestoned crosswalk and promptly broke off, sending the rider sliding down the pavement on his belly. I think he was pretty lucky not to have broken his face.

Honestly, I would much rather it had happened to the jerks who nearly ran over my dog as they weaved their double-occupied scooter down the sidewalk at far too high a speed about 30 minutes ago. I would probably even have laughed and not felt bad about it.

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I’m protecting my head right now.

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Public service announcement: every single thriftshop has basically an entire helmet section for around $3 per. Maybe you can get a better one new, but they’re much better than nothing, especially in a pinch to get you home.

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