With the expansion of electric scooter companies and rentals, accidents and injuries related to their use have become major health problems.
In a report published in November 2022, the French National Academy of Medicine expressed its concern about the risks involved in this mode of travel, whose recent growth is explained in particular by the multiplication of rental equipment offers.
In 2022, 22 accidental deaths due to motorised personal mobility devices (electric scooters, monowheels, Segways and hoverboards) were recorded in France compared to ten in 2019, the academy noted, citing road safety figures.
In Belgium, there are more than 1,000 accidents in 2021 and 400 in Brussels alone.
Upper body at biggest risk
"Delayed regulation in comparison to technological advances, users poorly observing the laws and an environment often poorly adapted to these vehicles" have made the development of electric scooters "chaotic and a source of increasing accidentality," continued the academy.
Among the common injuries are lesions to the craniofacial area and limbs, especially the upper limbs. These locations of injuries result from a fall forward that makes the head, arms and forearms very exposed.
The skull is thus more often affected in scooter accidents than in bicycle accidents where the fall occurs laterally (74% against 43%). "The main risks incurred in the event of an accident are head trauma or facial injuries, fractures, skin lesions that can leave scars, fractures of the teeth, breaking of the nose but also of the collarbone, arm and forearm," the report adds.
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In Belgium, "it has been found that one in seven accidents with an electric scooter involves a child or teenager under the age of 16,"Benoît Godart of mobility association VIAS told RTBF. “This is why users under the age of 16 will be prohibited from using an electric scooter.”
"The helmet and gloves are essential on a scooter to limit the severity of the trauma."
However, wearing a helmet would still be insufficient. If 86% of scooter owners use one, only one in ten who use rental scooters will wear a helmet, according to a 2020 study conducted by the French Insurance Federation.