Like the IIHS study, the GHSA report finds that while e-scooter riders prefer using bike lanes, when these lanes are not available they are more likely to use the sidewalk due to safety concerns about riding alongside vehicular traffic. Investments in infrastructure such as protected bike lanes provide benefits to all road users by providing safer travel spaces for bicyclists and e-scooter riders, reducing the potential for crashes with motor vehicles and pedestrians.
The IIHS study also notes that nearly 40 percent of the injured individuals were first-time e-scooter riders, pointing to inexperience as a factor in crashes. This, too, tracks with GHSA’s recommendation to increase on-device training. Learn-to-ride events coupled with ongoing practice can help individuals build skill and reduce their crash risk.
The number of trips on shared micromobility devices – pedal-powered and electric bicycles (e-bikes), electric scooters (e-scooters) and other small transportation devices – rose to 136 million in 2019, a 60 percent increase over the previous year. As trips have increased, so too has the potential for crashes, with hospitals reporting triple digit spikes in e-scooter injuries and hospital admissions.
Micromobility-involved crashes and injuries are likely underreported due to the lack of a universal reporting standard, which is why we believe that studies like the one released today by IIHS are critical for helping to make the roads safer for the riders of these devices. The good news is that we are beginning to understand the challenges posed by the growth in these devices, so that states and cities across the U.S., in partnership with micromobility providers, can take appropriate action to protect these vulnerable road users.
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The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq or follow us on Twitter @GHSAHQ.