If the sunny weather makes you think of taking an e-scooter to downtown Austin, area doctors and doctors are urging users to take precautions and protect themselves.
A recent Austin Public Health study of e-scooter-related injuries found that most of the injured riders were first-time riders. These standup battery powered scooters hit the streets of Austin for the first time in 2017, sometimes causing serious injuries.
Nicholas Stein, head of emergency medicine at the University of Texas Dell Medical School, spoke at the Austin Trauma and Critical Care Conference earlier this month on the dangers of e-scooters and expressed concern over the rise of scooter injuries in the past. Four years.
“I don’t know that we’re doing enough to inform people in the community and look at these things and think, ‘Oh, this is a convenient way to get around town,’ and then the fun stops when the ambulance stops.
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Jason Pickett, chief deputy medical officer for Austin City, which provides medical direction for Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services, has treated scooter injuries, saying it is more common than most people try on weekends and special events. To navigate the city.
Helmet use, demanded education
EMS doctors often see head injuries without wearing helmets, and when they fall off scooters, they see upper body injuries as they throw their arms out in front of them, Pickett said.
“I’m not opposed to scooters as I imagine,” Pickett said. “They are energy-efficient and take people out.
But to enjoy the positives of scooters, people must wear helmets and look at cars, Pickett said, adding that Stein also emphasized.
An Austin Public Health study of e-scooter injuries published in 2019 found that only 1.6% of adult patients with e-scooter-related injuries wear a helmet. Head and face injuries are the most common e-scooted-related injuries.
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Those who own their own scooter may be less likely to be injured because they may be more familiar with the mechanics of the device and are familiar with traffic rules, Steiner said. He said he sees more injuries with people who rent e-scooters and don’t know how to use them, so companies that hire them should encourage safety.
Stein said the city of Austin has a website to educate people, but you have to find it. The information should be readily available when anyone is using a scooter, he said, adding that if they are a first time user they need to watch the tutorial. The city may post signs with guidance on areas where scooters meet.
“I think most of them are jumping for the first time, and instead of finding a website with some security information, they are bypassing it for speed and convenience to reach their next destination.” Said Steiner.
Another problem is that scooters can block sidewalks and restrict access to people in wheelchairs, Stein said.
“I push my stroller with my kids,” Stein said. “I had to move these things off the sidewalk and I thought, ‘Man, if I’m in a wheelchair, how do I safely navigate the sidewalk? I need someone to help me move these things. People who don’t use them have problems.’
The SuperPedestrian Company, founded by the MIT Urban Planning Division, manufactures bikes and yellow-green scooters called Links across Austin. Paul Steely White, the company’s vice president of public policy, said the scooter will clear the sidewalk for pedestrians by scrutinizing demand and supply.
When daily trips to each vehicle are reduced, unused scooters remove scooters from the streets to avoid pedestrian traffic. Unlike most scooter companies who buy their vehicles from a third party, the company improves safety by designing their scooters at home.
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Superintendents recently received $ 125 million to expand the safety features on their scooters. Unlike most scooters weighing 30-50 pounds, the links weigh about 60 pounds and have a low center of gravity, which allows for a smoother ride.
“Dr. Steiner’s call for more rider education and helmet promotion is right. We are investing in SuperPedestrian here with an array of safety education and riders’ safety measures and we will continue to do more, ”White said. “However and perhaps more effective, improved lanes and other safety infrastructure improvements have been shown to make roads safer for riders and pedestrians alike.”
Lime was one of the first scooter apps to hit the Austin market. Yes, lime-colored scooters in Austin from 2018 onwards. Jesse Murray, global head of the Lyme Scooters Trust and Safety, said 99.9908% of the nearly 3 million Lyme rides in Austin were completed safely and without incident.
“We are in the midst of a safety campaign where we communicate with our riders on how to ride safely and responsibly in Austin to make sure our riders are safe,” Murray said in a statement. “We are now working with the city to put together a personal safety training program in the coming weeks.”
Murray stressed the need for better infrastructure to protect scooter riders and pedestrians.
“We urge everyone who cares about street safety to join us for a safe street infrastructure such as protected bike lanes, which we know to keep people safe,” he said.
Bird, a competitive e-scooter app, said in a statement that 99.99% of rides in Austin were completed safely or 0.0017% of rides reported were medical injuries.
“The city of Austin and Bird share a commitment to provide the safest possible micro-electro transport options and prioritize alternatives to gas-powered cars,” Bird said.