E-bike safety


E-Bike, E-Scooter Head Injuries Surge as Their Popularity Spurs More Hazards

Injuries among riders of electronic bicycles, or e-bikes, have surged, sending thousands to hospital ERs in the United States, new research has found. Head injuries were most common as researchers found that the majority of those injured were not wearing helmets.

Overall, helmet use declined by almost 6 percent each year between 2017 and 2022 among the e-bikers, states the study published in JAMA Surgery. During the same period, the number of e-bike riders with head trauma seeking hospital care surged 49-fold to nearly 8,000 in 2022, the study’s authors said.

Charles Jordan, M.D., an orthopedic trauma surgeon with Baptist Health Orthopedic Care.

A separate report in October by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) found that injuries associated with all “micromobility devices” – primarily e-scooters, hoverboards and e-bikes --  increased nearly 21 percent from 2021 to 2022. “Micromobility-related injuries have trended upward since 2017, increasing an estimated average 23 percent annually,” states the CPSC.

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, a time to remind everyone of the vital importance of protective head gear when riding any electronic or motorized bikes.

It’s also vital for pedestrians to be fully aware of areas where there are e-scooters and e-bikes – moving or lying on the ground or sidewalks, explains Charles J. Jordan, M.D., orthopedic trauma surgeon with Baptist Health Orthopedic Care.

“The awareness that this is a technology that has caught on quickly, especially in highly populated centers, is something that is vitally important,” Dr. Jordan said. “Just awareness in itself can be a huge contributor toward decreasing the incidence of injuries.”

The latest study found the only 44 percent of injured e-bike riders wore helmets. The data analyzed came from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), a nationally representative sample of about 100 hospital emergency departments nationwide. The researchers analyzed NEISS cases of e-bike injuries and determined that about 46,000 children and adults showed up in ERs with injuries between 2017 and 2022. During that time period, there was a 43-fold rise in hospitalizations.

“Riders may not be completely respectful of the potential dangers and making sure to have safety as a No. 1 priority,” said Dr. Jordan. “That includes riding carefully in areas where there are not a lot of pedestrians or motor vehicle traffic. And it’s also vitally important for all riders to wear helmets to prevent serious head injuries.”

Dr. Jordan recommends seeking immediate medical attention for injuries that occur while operating an e-scooter or e-bike, even if they don’t seem serious at first. Serious head injuries, bleeding from severe wounds and sprains or broken bones should be evaluated in the Emergency Room. Bruises, minor cuts and abrasions can be treated in an Urgent Care Center. 

Patients who present with e-scooter or e-bike injuries should be assessed the same as any patient who presents with crash-related trauma.

“There is always the potential for severe and life-threatening injuries,” said Dr. Jordan. “The evaluation of someone involved in an incident related to e-scooters or e-bikes should be no different than any other trauma patient.”

Here are more safety tips for e-bike and e-scooter riders from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.


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