E-scooter, e-bike and hoverboard injuries are on the rise, even as these products have grown in popularity among Americans in recent years, according to a new report released by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
From 2017 to 2021, notes the CPSC, injuries spiked 127 percent to 77,200 for micromobility devices, and the number of deaths during that time period rose from five to 48. E-scooters had the highest percentage increase in injuries and accounted for 68 deaths in the same time period. Consumer-owned e-scooters accounted for most ER visits (56 percent), but incidents involving rental e-scooter were not far behind (44 percent).
The top hazards in e-scooter and e-bike fatalities were incidents with motor vehicles and user-control issues, followed by fires.
Because collisions with motor vehicles and user-control issues are the most common hazards, CPSC urges consumers to do the following:
- Always wear a bicycle helmet.
- Before riding, make sure to check for any damage – examine the handlebars, brakes, throttle, bell, lights, tires, cables and frame.
- See and be seen. Many micromobility products are small, quick, and silent, making it difficult for users of these products to be spotted, especially in parking lots and structures.
- Slow down and stay aware of surroundings.
- Use the bell/horn to alert others.
- Do not make abrupt, unpredictable movements.
- Beware of obstacles. E-scooters have small tires, so objects and uneven surfaces can cause them to stop suddenly, throwing off the user.
- Always keep both hands on the handlebars and keep items off the handlebars.
- Slow down and lean back when riding over bumps.
- Never ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Only one person per e-scooter; additional riders can increase the risk and severity of collisions.
- Follow all manufacturer directions, review the safety information and identify and weight and age limits for the micromobility product.
- Watch the CPSC’s PSA on safe riding.
Fires with the lithium-ion batteries that power e-scooters, as well as e-bikes and hoverboards, have been garnering attention from fire departments nationwide, the CPSC reports. CPSC recommends these tips to prevent fires with these devices:
- Always be present when charging devices using lithium-ion batteries. Never charge them while sleeping.
- Only use the charger that came with the device.
- Only use an approved replacement battery pack.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper charging, and unplug the device when done.
- Never use an e-mobility device with a battery pack that has been modified/reworked by unqualified personnel or with re-purposed or used cells.
- Never throw lithium batteries into the trash or general recycling. Instead, take them to the local battery recycler or hazardous waste collection center.
CPSC is working in collaboration with PHMSA, FAA, and EPA to alert consumers to the dangers of lithium-ion batteries and their safe use, including in micromobility devices.