May 22, 2023 – Guido Gurrera
ELECTRIC SCOOTER RELATED INJURIES: A NEW EPIDEMIC
The increasing popularity of these products has led to a rise in serious injuries resulting from their use.
The Era of the E-Scooter
It seems like electric scooters are everywhere in this country. “E-scooters” as these products are commonly known, have exploded in popularity and sale in the United States (and worldwide for that matter). People of differing ages and abilities have turned to e-scooters for a myriad of reasons, such as a cheaper commute, convenience, portability, lack of public transportation, decreased personal mobility due to a disability, and for simple fun, among other reasons. A recent article published by the Wall Street Journal describes the surge of e-scooters’ popularity1 :
Sky-high gasoline prices, new commuting habits and a tough car-buying market are sending more people shopping for electric scooters.
Miami e-scooter marketplace and manufacturer Fluidfreeride has sold more than twice as many units this month compared with last, founder Julian Fernau says. Sales are 70% higher than in March 2021, he added, and website traffic is up about 30% since gasoline prices began to shoot up at the fastest rate on record earlier this month. At Bird, another manufacturer, sales have increased 60% and website traffic is up 30% during the same time, according to a spokeswoman.
Interest in e-scooters and similar e-bikes, which are just like the original versions only with a motor, has been rising for a couple of years, as supply issues have hurt car availability and commuting habits have changed during the pandemic. That interest has been supercharged more recently by pain at the pump. Some people have been thinking about buying an e-scooter for years; others had never even ridden before, but now say they want to scoot, instead of drive, to their office, grocery store or friends’ houses.1Wolfe, Rachel. “E-Scooters Are Having a Moment as Gas Prices Surge: Consumers, sick of paying premium prices at the pumps, increasingly rely on electric scooters to get around.” The Wall Street Journal, March 28, 2022. Available: <
Online communities on platforms like Reddit and Facebook have ballooned in popularity, providing e-scooter enthusiasts with forums to rate scooter models, assist with repairs, and seek answers to basically any e-scooting questions.
Lime, Bird, Spin, E-Scooter, and numerous other companies have launched e-scooter sharing and rental services in cities throughout the U.S. and the world. A user, after downloading an app containing their payment information, can ride a scooter most-any place they need to go and be billed accordingly. This feasibility, of course, only adds to the attractiveness that the e-scooter encaptures.
E-scooter sharing and rental services are not available everywhere as the option is typically found in larger cities and urban areas. Nevertheless, for those who don’t live in a city where they can rent an e-scooter, or for those who simply want to own one, there are numerous brands and models of e-scooters available on the market which can be shipped directly to the purchaser. Online retailers such as Amazon and eBay have countless e-scooter options available for purchase.
Not All E-Scooters are Equal
Not all e-scooters are created equal. For instance, the Nami Burn-E, dubbed “the Ferrari of scooters” can reach speeds of approximately 60 miles per hour and travel up to 90 miles on a single charge. It also happens to carry a “Ferrari-like” price tag of $4,499.002.
There are also less expensive models available on the market, including several under $300.00. The GOTRAX Apex, for one, starts at $299. It reaches a top speed of 16 miles per hour and travels 15 miles on a single charge3.
With the rising popularity of e-scooters, injuries stemming from these devices have similarly skyrocketed.
The Downside of the E-Scooter
Some of the most common injuries sustained from e-scooters include:
- Head and brain injuries
- Fractured wrists, arms or collarbones
- Fractures ankles and legs
- Sprained ankles, ligaments, or tears
- Fractures of the skull, face, and neck vertebrae
- Dental injuries
- Scarring related to “road rash” or lacerations
A scoping review published in the Journal of Injury Prevention examined literature published between 2010 and 2020 which concluded that electric scooters leave riders vulnerable to traumatic injuries of varying severity. The findings suggested that the head, upper extremities, and lower extremities are particularly vulnerable4.
In 2018, a study was conducted in Austin, Texas by the Austin Public Health Department, which monitored e-scooter related injuries reported to nine area hospitals over an 87-day period. During that short time, 271 e-scooter related injuries were identified. Of those who confirmed their injuries to researchers, 45 percent suffered head injuries, 27 percent dealt with upper extremity fractures, and 12 percent had lower extremity fractures5. The vast majority of the injuries were suffered by those aged 18-29.
In 2021, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported injury data on “micromobility” products (e-scooters, hoverboards, and e-bikes), including the following6:
- There were more than 190,000 emergency room (ED) visits due to all micromobility products from 2017 through 2020. ED visits had a steady 70% increase from 34,000 (2017), 44,000 (2018), 54,800 (2019) to 57,800 (2020).
- Much of the increase between 2017 and later years was attributable to ED visits involving e-scooters, which rose three times as much, from 7,700 (2017), to 14,500 (2018), to 27,700 (2019) and 25,400 (2020).
- Injuries happened most frequently to upper and lower limbs, as well as the head and the neck.
- CPSC is aware of 71 fatalities associated with micromobility products from 2017 through 2020, although reporting is incomplete.
Not all injuries are categorized as human factors. Rather, electrical and mechanical failures of the scooters themselves are commonly to blame7.
4 Toofany M, Mohsenian S, Shum LK, et al. Injury patterns and circumstances associated with electric scooter collisions: a scoping review. Injury Prevention 2021;27:490-499.
6 “Injuries Using E-Scooters, E-Bikes and Hoverboards Jump 70% During the Past Four Years.” United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, September 30, 2021.
The Suits Against E-Scooters
Lawsuits filed in 2020 in California against Lime and Bird, two of the largest e-scooter sharing companies, allege that malfunctioning brakes, sudden accelerations, and faulty throttles, handlebars, and wheels caused countless riders to be thrown off the two-wheel devices and become injured, some seriously8.
Another lawsuit, claiming mechanical and design defects, was filed in 2018 in Texas against e-scooter manufacturer Urban626, LLC. In that matter, the Plaintiff alleged that she was thrown from the scooter and sustained severe injuries, “While riding (the scooter), the subject scooter folded while in motion due to the lack of a locking mechanism preventing the scooter from folding while in use…9”
This office filed a lawsuit in 2022 on behalf of a woman who alleged that the handlebars on her e-scooter suddenly collapsed while she was riding causing her to suffer serious injuries10. We are also co-counsel on a matter involving the death of a young man while operating an e-scooter in Maryland.
8 Lazo, Luz. “Lime and Bird sued over alleged scooter safety failures and injuries to dozens.” Washington Post, August 21, 2020. Available: < https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/lime-and-bird-sued-over-alleged-scooter-safety-failures-and-injuries-to-dozens/2020/08/21/15f960d6-e24a-11ea-b69b-64f7b0477ed4_story.html>
9 Suayan, John. “Woman says e-scooter folded mid-ride, sues manufacturer.” Southeast Texas Record, July 31, 2018. Available: < https://setexasrecord.com/stories/511509526-woman-says-e-scooter-folded-mid-ride-sues-manufacturer>
Gurrera Law Can Help
If you have experienced an injury due to a defective electric scooter, been struck by a vehicle while operating an electric scooter, or have been involved in a crash of an electric scooter due to a dangerous condition of a roadway or other property, contact Gurrera Law in Pittsburgh, PA for a free evaluation of your claim.
Attorney Guido Gurrera is an experienced plaintiff’s attorney and civil litigator who has successfully handled hundreds of cases in his career and recovered millions of dollars for his clients. With him, you won’t find hidden costs, red tape, theatrics, or stuffy black suits, and you won’t be treated like a number.
Contact Gurrera Law today for honest compensation.