In response to the increase in reported injuries related to e-scooter use since the devices’ arrival in Austin last spring, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Austin Public Health (APH) – with support from the Austin Transportation Department – have conducted a three-month epidemiological study, Dockless Electric Scooter-Related Injuries Study, The city currently provides operating permits to Bird, Jump, Lime, Lyft, OjO, Razor, Skip, Spin, VeoRide, and Wind Mobility.
The study showed that nearly half of e-scooter users who were injured sustained a head injury, and only one of the total 190 injured riders wore a helmet. Overall, 936,110 e-scooter trips occurred in Austin during the study period, with injuries occurring in about 20 out of every 100,000 trips, equaling a 0.02% crash rate.
Alcohol and speeding play significant roles in a number of the incidents, with 29% of the injured individuals reporting they consumed alcohol in the 12 hours prior to their scooter ride and 37% of injured respondents saying speeding contributed to their accident. Cars are not major factors in injuries, with vehicle collisions only involved in 10% of the cases.
The report proposes establishing and strengthening injury surveillance related to emerging modes of transportation. It also recommends increasing the methods and frequency of educational messaging for safe e-scooter riding. The messaging should emphasize wearing a helmet and traveling at safe speeds.
The data “will help inform future thinking” for the city’s micro-mobility and safety policies, said Robert Spillar, Director of Transportation for the City of Austin. “One of the things to do is look at it in comparison to other modes [of transportation] and formulate those policies. We’re reticent to jump to conclusions about what some of these things mean.”