Electric scooters – a practical means of transport or the cause of serious collisions?
24 June 2019
They are comfortable, easy to use and allowing to avoid traffic jams. Electric scooters are nowadays the most visible new landscape of big cities. Also, one of the most common causes of injury for both users of these electric vehicles and pedestrians, as orthopedic specialists point out.
Since 2018, a significant increase in the number of people riding electric scooters has been recorded in Poland. As stated by their users, they are a fast means of transport, especially useful in large and congested cities. At the same time, the number of injured in collisions caused by electric scooters is increasing. Doctors from the Carolina Medical Center in Warsaw noticed that 1 of 3 patients in the emergency room are patients whose injuries are associated with this mode of transport. What's worse, as many as 15% of them require surgical treatment!
Doctor Krzesimir Sieczych [kʒeʕimir ʕeʧɨx], orthopedist from the Carolina Medical Center, points out:
Small wheels, and therefore low stability of the vehicle, are the cause of falls of scooter drivers and collisions with pedestrians. It leads to injuries in both aggrieved parties. Most often they are painful bruises, contusions, fractures of the collarbone, fractures within the elbow and wrist, resulting from supporting the falling body with hands. Unfortunately, very often injuries require immediate surgery, especially when they affect knees, for example rupture of the menisci, ligaments, patella fracture.
Injuries mentioned by dr Sieczych are an unpleasant aspect of using scooters. Small wheels and high speed, which vehicles are able to develop (up to 30 km / h), cause frequent tipping and collisions. More and more people riding scooters and pedestrians with various injuries, among which the most frequent are abrasions of the skin, but also much more dangerous - head injuries (concussion, hematomas) and motor organs, end up at the hospital. Consequently, many of these people face difficult and long rehabilitation.
In Poland, the largest number of victims are people aged 35-50, professionally active, who hop on scooters without any preparation. And we are not talking about professional sports preparation, but about the average ability to use a vehicle that develops high speed on uneven, and above all, full of other users sidewalks.
The second most important cause of serious injuries, apart from recklessness and lack of imagination of a driver, is riding without any protection like a helmet, knee pads or elbow pads. Such injuries are often more dangerous than injuries caused by, for example, riding a bicycle.
At this point, we are addressing another important issue, which is lack of legal regulations regarding the rules of riding electric scooters within public transport. The response to the alarming statistics presented by Polish doctors is the decision of the Ministry of Infrastructure, which has undertaken to implement the relevant regulations for the spring of 2020.
Is the growing number of accidents and collisions involving electric scooters and the lack of regulations clearly defining the rules for riding these vehicles, an excuse to completely abandon the use of electric scooters?
Of course not! – strongly denies doctor Krzesimir Sieczych – We ask scooter users the same as other drivers: let our common sense and the principle of limited trust be a priority when using the streets, highways and pavements.