Incidence of Emergency Department Visits for Electric Rental Scooters Using Detailed Ridership Data

Chelsea Williams, Cindy C. Bitter, Steven Lorber, Caleb R. Overfelt, Holly Zehfus, Andrea Spangler, Valerie Lew, Lawrence M. Lewis, Rosanne S. Naunheim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Electric scooter (e-scooter) rental usage has increased exponentially around the country, expanding to more than 120 cities by the end of 2018. Early attempts to capture the safety effects of widespread adoption of this technology have been hampered by lack of accurate ridership data. Here we describe a 17-month evolution of ridership characteristics in St. Louis, Missouri, and the frequency of e-scooter rental-related injuries serious enough to require an emergency department (ED) visit over this time frame; we also provide estimates of incidence rates of injuries based on company ridership data. Methods: We performed a combination retrospective chart review and prospective questionnaire-based analysis of adult e-scooter rental-related ED visits in both downtown St. Louis Level 1 trauma centers during the first 17 months of e-scooter rental usage (August 2018-December 2019). The retrospective portion focused on demographics, alcohol use, helmet use, disposition, operative repair, and temporal and severity markers. The prospective portion focused on more detailed crash and rider data. Finally, we used ridership data from both e-scooter rental companies in St. Louis to estimate incidence and temporal trends. Results: A total of 221 patients had e-scooter rental-related ED visits. The median age of our population was 31 years with 58.8% male and 53.8% White. There were no deaths. Ninety-two patients were found to have fractures with 38% requiring surgery. Of the 21 patients diagnosed with head injury, five had an intracranial bleed. Overall incidence of ED visits related to e-scooters was 2.1 per 10,000 trips and 2.2 per 10,000 miles with the number of ED visits by month closely correlated with the number of rides per month (Pearson correlation coefficient = 0.95). Conclusion: The number of e-scooter rental-related injuries seen in St. Louis trauma centers was relatively low and correlated closely with overall number of rides. The number of injuries decreased and were less severe from 2018 to 2019 with infrequent intracranial injuries and a large percentage of fractures requiring operative repair.

Original languageEnglish
JournalWestern Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2022


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