The e-merging e-pidemic of e-scooters
Since their release in 2017, standing electric motorized scooters (eScooters) have risen in popularity as an alternative mode of transportation. This study sought to examine the incidence of injury, injury patterns, prevalence of helmet and drug and alcohol use in eScooter trauma.
This was a multi-institutional retrospective case series of patients admitted for injuries related to operation of an eScooter following the widespread release of these devices in September 2017 (September 1, 2017 to October 31, 2018). Demographics, drug and alcohol use, helmet use, admission vitals, injuries, procedures, hospital and intensive care unit length of stay (LOS), death, and disposition were analyzed.
103 patients were admitted during the study period, and monthly admissions increased significantly over time. Patients were young men (mean age 37.1 years; 65% male), 98% were not wearing a helmet. Median LOS was 1 day (IQR 1–3). 79% of patients were tested for alcohol and 48% had a blood alcohol level >80 mg/dL. 60% of patients had a urine toxicology screen, of which 52% were positive. Extremity fractures were the most frequent injury (42%), followed by facial fractures (26%) and intracranial hemorrhage (18%). Median Injury Severity Score was 5.5 (IQR 5–9). One-third of patients (n=34) required an operative intervention, the majority of which were open fixations of extremity and facial fractures. No patients died during the study. The majority of patients were discharged home (86%).
eScooter-related trauma has significantly increased over time. Alcohol and illicit substance use among these patients was common, and helmet use was extremely rare. Significant injuries including intracranial hemorrhage and fractures requiring operative intervention were present in over half (51%) of patients. Interventions aimed at increasing helmet use and discouraging eScooter operation while intoxicated are necessary to reduce the burden of eScooter-related trauma.