What’s viewed by many Americans as a fun way to get around is also proving increasingly risky and even deadly.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, at least 41 Americans were killed and about 133,000 injured between 2017 and 2019 in incidents tied to e-scooters, e-bikes and hoverboards.
The toll of deaths and injuries from the devices has been rising, with e-scooters accounting for much of the increase, the federal agency found in a study released Tuesday. The count of ER visits attributable to e-scooters rose to 27,700 in 2019 up from nearly 15,000 the year before, CPSC found.
A total of 27 fatalities during the three-year period involved e-scooter accidents. Most of them were male riders involved in a collision with a motor vehicle, but some were pedestrians fatally struck by scooters. There were four hoverboard fatalities and 10 deaths involving e-bikes. The death count is likely to rise as reporting is not final.
A majority of hoverboard injuries treated in hospital emergency departments involve children 14 years and younger, while 58% of injuries involving e-scooters were people 25 and older, according to the findings.
E-scooters zoomed past station-based rental bikes as the most popular form of shared “micro-mobility” transportation in 2018, with rental companies like Lime and Bird renting tens of thousands of e-scooters across the country, according to the National Association of City Transportation Officials.
E-scooters were banned at night in Atlanta and in parts of Tennessee last year after a series of deadly wrecks, including a young man in Nashville who was riding an e-scooter while intoxicated and was struck and killed by a vehicle.
Separately, CPSC has been cautioning consumers about, a year in which they were a popular holiday gift. The agency has tracked more than 250 hoverboard incidents related to fires or overheating in the years since. Those include the March 2017 deaths of a girl and a 10-year-old girl in a house fire ignited by a hoverboard in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, CPSC said.
The year before, more than 100,000 hoverboards made by 10 companies were recalled after CPSC received about 100 reports of theoverheating, sparking, smoking, or exploding.
In a videotaped public service announcement issued Wednesday, CPSC urged e-scooter riders to follow safety rules such as wearing a helmet, checking their scooters for damage and testing the devices’ brakes.
Safety tips and recall notices for hoverboard owners can be found here.