Head Injuries Involving E-Scooters

The rapid rise of e-scooters as a popular mode of transportation has brought with it a concerning surge in accident statistics. In Germany alone, police recorded a staggering 8,260 accidents involving personal injury with e-scooters in 2022, see DEKRA  findings on head injuries involving E-Scooters. This alarming trend raises questions about the safety of these micro-mobility devices.

Many accidents that involve an e-scooter hit a curb without a third party that is another user such as a motorist, cyclist or pedestrian. Therefore in such singular accidents of this kind there is usually nobody to blame and no compensation for an E-Scooter accident can follow save that the cause of say hitting a curb would be down to a pot-hole or other type of defect on the road.  Please be aware that E-Scooters cannot be used on the pavements.

This analysis is part of a Road Safety Report that repeatedly show, ‘humans are responsible for around 90 percent of accidents.’ The report further comments: In order to compensate to a certain extent for human inadequacies and misconduct at the wheel of a motor vehicle, the automotive industry has for years been increasingly relying on driver assistance systems that can detect critical traffic situations at an early stage, warn of dangers and, if necessary, actively intervene in events.

Click here: E-Scooter Accident Compensation – a Complete Guide 

DEKRA’s Research Project: Assessing Head Injury Risks

Collaborative Research Effort: To shed light on the severity of e-scooter accidents, a research project was undertaken in collaboration with DEKRA Accident Research, Université Gustave Eiffel in Marseille (France), and École de technologie supérieure in Montréal (Canada). The focus was on understanding the impact conditions and injury risks associated with e-scooter crashes.

Simulation of E-Scooter Crash Models

The researchers developed a comprehensive simulation model based on a DEKRA crash test. The chosen scenario involved an e-scooter colliding with a curb—a situation prevalent in real-life accidents. Solo accidents without an opponent accounted for over a third of all e-scooter accidents in the statistics, making this a crucial aspect to study.

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Analysing Various E-Scooter Crash Scenarios:

The simulation meticulously examined more than 160 individual crash scenarios, varying in factors such as initial speed, angle of impact with the curb, and the rider’s size. The primary goal was to unravel impact kinematics—understanding what happens to the human body during and after a collision.

Head Impact Prevalence:

The first and most striking result of the research highlighted the vulnerability of the head in e-scooter accidents. In almost every simulated scenario, there was a significant impact of the head on the ground, elevating the risk of concussions. This underscores a critical safety concern for riders.

Severity of Head Injuries:

A staggering 90% of the analyzed cases demonstrated a risk of severe to very severe head injuries. The impact speeds recorded during the simulations fell within the specified range for testing bicycle helmets. This revelation poses a potential solution—utilizing common bicycle helmets to provide effective protection for e-scooter riders.

Implications for Safety Measures:

As the prevalence of e-scooter usage continues to grow, these findings underscore the urgent need for enhanced safety measures and regulations. Riders must be made aware of the substantial risk to their heads in case of accidents, emphasizing the importance of protective gear.

Ongoing Research on Bicycle Helmets:

Building on these critical findings, the three collaborating institutions have initiated another series of crash tests. The focus is on investigating the protective effect of bicycle helmets in e-scooter accidents. The ongoing evaluations aim to provide insights that can contribute to bolstering safety protocols.

What Are the Common Scooter Accidents?

It comes as no surprise that the most common scooter accident that involve head injuries or any other part of the body are s similar to motorcycle and pedal cycle accidents.  The list is below, simply replace the graphic of a motorcycle with an E-Scooter.

  1. Motorbike Overtaking Stationary Line of Traffic
  2. Motorbike filtering and weaving –  who is at fault?
  3. Car Performs ‘U Turn’ and causes accident with cyclist – Who is at Fault? 
  4. Car Pulls Out of a Side Road
  5. Motorcyclist undertakes a car – who is at fault?
  6. Bike Swerves to Avoid Car

Therefore the laws on overtaking, undertaking, weaving or filtering through stationary or slow moving traffic are similar. The compensation amounts for the injuries also mirror cyclist injuries as all are particularly vulnerable road users.

Conclusion: Navigating the Safety Landscape of E-Scooters

Unfortunately accidents involving E-Scooters are on the rise in many Countries including the UK. In the UK, 1149 personal injuries whilst riding an E-Scooter was reported where 11 riders were sadly killed, see The Road Safety Report – E-Scooter Fact Sheet. A study by the University of California revealed a 222% increase in scooter-related injuries from 2014 to 2018, totalling over 39,000 cases. Hospitalisations surged by 365% to 3,300 during the same period. Meanwhile, Germany reported 8,260 e-scooter accidents causing personal injuries in 2022, leading to 11 fatalities and over 1,200 serious injuries. Research emphasises the high risk of head injuries, urging further investigation into the protective efficacy of bicycle helmets.

As e-scooters become an increasingly integral part of urban transportation, understanding and addressing the associated safety risks are paramount. The collaborative research project by DEKRA and partner institutions sheds light on the specific threat posed to riders’ heads in accidents. The implications extend beyond mere statistics, urging a proactive approach to enhance safety standards and rider awareness in the evolving micro-mobility landscape.

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In a further report, E-scooter falls  entitled ‘Head-ground impact conditions and helmet performance in E-scooter falls’ considers the implications of head injuries following a scooter accident and that a  bicycle helmet was efficient to reduce head injury but not  avert severe head injuries. The recommendation was  for greater protection for helmet wearers to  involve absorb higher impact energy.

Click here: E-Scooter Accident Compensation – a Complete Guide 

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