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Hospital study builds profiles of those most likely to suffer e-scooter accidents

Illustration picture shows people riding the Lime-S moped scooter sharing system in Brussels, Friday 03 May 2019. (BELGA PHOTO ERIC LALMAND)
06:34 28/04/2022

A new study of patients arriving at the emergency room of the CHU Saint-Pierre hospital in Brussels has revealed the profiles of those people most likely to be injured in electric scooter accidents, RTL reports.

According to the results of the study, in most scooter accidents in Brussels, the driver is 30 years old – or under 25 years old in accidents taking place after 18:00 - does not wear a helmet, is the only one involved in the accident, and is driving in the evening under the influence of alcohol.

Every second patient will suffer from craniofacial lesions, according to the study carried out between June 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020, on 170 patients over 16 years of age who passed through the hospital’s emergency room.

Dr Pierre Youatou Towo, head of the surgical clinic in the emergency department, called on Wednesday for the wearing of helmets to be a legal requirement for e-scooter riders, an appeal which puts more pressure on operators to take responsibility for providing them.

"More and more patients were arriving in our emergency rooms after scooter accidents," said the doctor. "It's a motorised machine and not a game. It is absolutely necessary to have a helmet, but the big problem is that the people who rent them most of the time do not have helmets with them. A fall on a scooter is dangerous. Those who enable them to go up to 100 km/h are criminals."

Nearly 84% of study participants who had a scooter accident were involved in single-party incidents. In addition, 11 (6.5%) drivers were carrying a passenger, 4% hit pedestrians and 5% collided with another machine (car, scooter or others). Some 58% of accidents occurred between 18.00 and 7.00.

In addition, 75% of the patients had rented their scooter and most of them were injured in the evening. Conversely, 25% of patients had their accident with their own scooter, particularly during the daily commute.

Of the 11 people who wore helmets, 10 owned their scooters. In the evening, no patients wore helmets and there were more patients with craniofacial lesions. About 30% of the people who agreed to take part in the study were under the influence of alcohol, and 12% had been drinking before 18.00.

Two-thirds of patients were men. The median age of accident victims was 30 years. After 18.00, 72% of patients were under 25 years old. About 46% of patients received head or facial injuries, with significant risks of having aesthetic and functional complications after the injury. Fortunately, there were no deaths in this study, but one patient with a cerebral hematoma – bleeding on the brain – was hospitalised in intensive care after colliding with another scooter. In addition, 23 patients required surgery for their injuries. 

Written by Nick Amies