Skateboard injuries are likely to occur over the weekend and, after taking alcohol-fueled risks, such as jumping on the sidewalk, reveal an analysis of the pattern and timing of these injuries in a European city and it is published online a Journal of Emergency Medicine.
Researchers should require much stricter rules on the use of electronic scooters, as well as technical modifications in their design.
Electronic scooters have become popular in major European cities since their initial license in June 2019, motivated by their availability and availability environmental concerns.
With 3.8 million residents and almost 14 million tourists each year, Berlin was chosen by electronic scooter manufacturers as a test site for short-distance travel (“micromobility”). And in September 2019, more than 11,000 electronic scooters went into circulation in the city.
Few studies have analyzed the patterns of injuries associated with the use of electronic scooters in European cities. To address this knowledge gap, researchers examined e-scooter injuries treated in four emergency departments in central Berlin during the six months between June and December 2019.
To two of the emergency services, injured patients they were asked to fill in questionnaires about the probable cause of the incident, previous experience with scooters, possession of a driver’s license, if they had drunk before the incident and if they wore a helmet.
During the 6-month study period, 248 patients were treated in the four emergency departments after suffering an injury with an electronic scooter.
The average age of the pilots was 29 years, but ranged from 5 to 81 years, with most injuries in those between 26 and 40 years. Just over half of the patients were men (52%). Almost six out of 10 (58%) were resident Berliners; 41% were tourists.
Most incidents (75%) occurred between July and September, and peaked between noon and 6:00 pm (40%) and between 6:00 pm and midnight (29%).
Injuries with electronic scooters were also higher on the weekend (58%) than on weekdays. In 20 patients (8%), the incidents occurred during the journey or departure from work.
The main cause of the injury was the fall of the scooter due to loss of control, due to lack of attention, driving with one hand, jumping on the sidewalk, inexperience or going too fast.
The injuries were also caused by contact with the sharp edges or protruding screws of the scooter during acceleration or when pulling off the ground or attempting to brake.
Pedestrians were injured in 12 cases (5%), either by being hit by a skateboard (9) or tripping over a parked vehicle (3).
Leg and arm injuries were recorded in 178 patients and accounted for the majority of injuries (72%). Thirteen of the 17 patients with leg fractures needed surgery; but most leg injuries were soft tissue injuries.
The arms were more likely to fracture than the legs (17% vs. 6%); 21 of these patients (8%) needed surgery. Four people dislocated one shoulder.
Head injuries (135) were suffered by 101 patients: soft tissue injuries (27%); fractures (19%); and dental damage (17%). One patient had a cerebral hemorrhage. Thirty-two (13%) also had a mild traumatic brain injury, 22 of whom were admitted to hospital.
In total, 1 in 4 patients (61; 25%) was admitted to hospital: 57 of them (23%) needed surgery, with an average stay of 3 days, but 1-12 days.
Of the 120 patients who completed the questionnaire, two-thirds (82; 68%) had a driver’s license and approximately half (58; 48%) had previously driven an electronic scooter.
One in five patients (49; 20%) tested positive for alcohol; 15 of them had a traumatic brain injury (31%).
A positive breath test was associated with a fivefold increase in the odds of traumatic brain injury and a double in the odds of hospital admission, even if drivers had experience handling electronic scooters.
Previous experience with e-scooters was associated with a threefold increase in the odds of traumatic brain injury. Only 1% of the pilots wore helmets.
The researchers acknowledge that their study was limited to four central emergency services in a city and that patients from only two of the emergency services completed the questionnaire.
However, the study reports the largest cohort of patients involved in incidents with electronic scooters in Europe, they point out.
Their findings lead researchers to call for much stricter regulations for e-scooter users. “These should include the wearing of helmets, an 18-year age limit, a ban on alcohol and strict compliance with traffic regulations, such as avoiding driving on pavements,” they write.
“By making technical modifications to electronic scooter platforms, vendors can help eliminate an additional source of injury“, they add.
Deniz Uluk et al, Electronic scooter incidents in Berlin: assessment of risk factors and injury patterns, Journal of Emergency Medicine (2021). DOI: 10.1136 / emermed-2020-210268
British Medical Journal
Citation: The most likely electric skateboard injuries on weekends and after taking alcohol-fueled hazards (2021, June 8), recovered on June 8, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021- 06-e-scooter-injuries-weekends- alcohol-fueled-taking-risk.html
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