Danger may lurk as we scoot

Decorative photo of electric scooters

DALLAS – Nov. 28, 2018 – In scores of major U.S. cities, rentable electric scooters have become a popular method of getting about, but emergency physicians also warn of potential danger.

Medical professionals are seeing more and more injuries to those riding the trendy transportation platform, and in September the city of Dallas had the first reported fatality involving a rental electric scooter.

“It isn’t that the scooters themselves are dangerous, but rather the scenario of riding quickly, upright, without a helmet, and sometimes across rough terrain,” says Dr. Raymond Fowler, Chief of Emergency Medical Services at UT Southwestern Medical Center. “Moreover, the risk of falling is always present, and especially the head, the hands and arms, and the hips and pelvis are at risk of direct blunt injury.”

Consider donning safety gear and helmets when scootering, Dr. Fowler says.

“Scooters are an interesting mix between skateboard and motorcycle,” Dr. Fowler notes. “The little motor can often accelerate the rider to a fairly fast speed, but the scooters’ maneuverability can be somewhat unsteady, surprising the riders and throwing them off balance. While many people have ridden both their personal and rented bicycles, there is inherently more stability in a bike than in a scooter. Few if any of us have ridden scooters, and the sudden surge of power, while trying to maintain balance and guiding the scooter, puts the scooter rider at a higher risk.” 

Dr. Fowler holds the James M. Atkins, M.D. Professorship in Emergency Medical Services.

About UT Southwestern Medical Center

UT Southwestern, one of the premier academic medical centers in the nation, integrates pioneering biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. The institution’s faculty has received six Nobel Prizes, and includes 22 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 17 members of the National Academy of Medicine, and 15 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators. The faculty of more than 2,700 is responsible for groundbreaking medical advances and is committed to translating science-driven research quickly to new clinical treatments. UT Southwestern physicians provide care in about 80 specialties to more than 105,000 hospitalized patients, nearly 370,000 emergency room cases, and oversee approximately 2.4 million outpatient visits a year.