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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — You may have seen them on the street somewhere. Those popular electric scooters require some balance and coordination, and on busy streets, accidents happen. New research says electric scooters are sending many people to the emergency room with serious injuries.
Electric scooters are a quick, zippy way to get around, and they’re rolling out in cities across the country.
“If it doesn’t require a car and gasoline, I’m all for it,” Jake Brower of Philadelphia said. “As long as we can keep it safe, it’s all good.”
While the scooters might be popular, new research shows one in three people involved in E-scooter accidents are injured badly enough to require emergency room treatment.
“A range of different fractures — the wrist, forearm and the ankles,” Dr. Tarak Trivedi of Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center said. “There were a lot of patients who came in with head injuries, fortunately the majority of them suffered minor concussions, but five patients did have bleeding inside the brain.”
The study looked at emergency room data on nearly 250 E-scooter riders and pedestrians involved in collisions.
One scooter company called the report “limited” and said the number of injuries reported amounts to a small fraction of E-scooter rides.
“We found in our study that only 4 percent of patients are actually wearing a helmet during the time of their injury,” Dr. Trivedi said. “While electric scooters are easy fun convenient and incredibly useful, they have to be taken seriously.”
Shayna Specht feels the E-scooters are safe, as long as you’re careful.
“You just have to be cautious of other people just riding a bike or walking,” she said.
While there’s interest, it’s unclear if E-scooters will be allowed to legally come to Philadelphia.
PennDOT says they’re not currently street legal.
Scooter company Bird says it’s committed to working with cities to safely and responsibly embrace E-scooters.
Another company, Lime, says they have led several safety initiatives, including distributing tens of thousands of free helmets to E-scooter riders.