A San Diego doctor is “absolutely certain” it is only a matter of time before someone dies in an accident involving the latest urban transportation trend: shared electric scooters.
“Injuries are coming in fast and furious,” Dr. Michael Sise told The Washington Post. He’s the chief of medical staff at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego. He said his team saw four severe scooter injuries last week.
“It’s just a matter of time before someone is killed. I’m absolutely certain of it,” Sise told the newspaper, which surveyed emergency-room physicians in seven cities where doctors reported spikes in severe accidents after the devices launched on their streets.
A spokesman for Scripps Mercy Hospital said, so far, only anecdotal evidence is available on the rise in injuries, ranging from broken wrists and feet to serious head trauma. That’s why Dr. Sise and Scripps Mercy began tracking the data a few weeks ago. Currently, there are no government mandates to track scooter accidents, so no data exists.
NBC 7 has requested information on scooter accidents in San Diego for the months of June, July and August. The fire department does not track injury incidents by whether the patient was on a scooter or not, a spokeswoman said. Lifeguards just started tracking scooter incidents in March.
In June, an electric scooter crash on the Mission Beach boardwalk left a mother and her 11-year-old daughter seriously injured. The girl suffered a ruptured spleen and a head injury.
The accident happened just over a month after the San Diego City Council voted against an emergency ordinance that would have banned motorized scooters on the boardwalk.
In California, it is illegal to ride electric scooters on sidewalks, but many riders are unaware or ignore the law. State law also requires helmets, but many riders do not wear them.
One company, Bird, provides free helmets to customers who request one as an in-app option. The company says it has given away more than 40,000 free helmets to riders so far this year.
But, in San Diego, it is common to see people riding scooters without helmets.
One viewer @caliburrito on Instagram sent NBC 7 and Telemundo 20 a social media video of a man riding a scooter on the side of a local freeway.