E-scooter accidents rocketed from 2020 to 2021 – NHS Ambulance Trust figures
Image credit: Jonas Jacobsson | Unsplash
E-scooter accidents rocketed by around 82 per cent from 2020 to 2021 according to figures from NHS Ambulance Trusts across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Major Trauma Group (MTG) submitted a mass Freedom of Information request to the Trusts which showed that 713 e-scooter related accidents were attended by NHS ambulance vehicles during 2021 – a sizeable leap from the previous year’s figure of 392.
The data also revealed that the number of e-scooter accident patients being referred to A&E has increased by 40 per cent between 2020 and 2021, with 173 patients treated at the scene of an accident after being taken to their local A&E facility during 2021 compared with just 124 during 2020.
MTG said the figures show that greater steps need to be taken to improve the safety e-scooter users on the roads, especially considering the government recently extended approved e-scooter trials to 30 November 2022 to support a ‘green’ restart of local travel.
After being technically illegal in the UK for several years, trials of e-scooter rental services finally began in London last summer when they were made available to users in several London boroughs.
The vehicles were initially made available in Canary Wharf, Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea, and Richmond in June. The following month, Lambeth, Southwark and the City of London also joined the trials.
Despite the major trials under way in London, the MTG study found that Northern Ireland and the North West saw the largest increase in the number of e-scooter accidents assisted by NHS ambulances, with a 700 per cent and 200 per cent increase respectively between 2020 and 2021.
The Group called on the government to take note of current holes in the regulation of e-scooters and take action to educate riders and impose equal safety standards for users.
With each ambulance call out costing the NHS an average of £252, the increase in e-scooter accidents attended by the emergency services has is estimated to have cost £179,676 – up from £98,784 in 2020.
Trevor Sterling, MTG chair, said: “With rumours that the transport secretary Grant Shapps may legalise private e-scooters for use on roads during this year’s Queen’s Speech on 10 May, and with e-scooters set to continue increasing in popularity this year, it is essential that we address the serious safety concerns arising from e-scooter trials for the safety of all roads users.
“We must therefore bridge the gap in knowledge of the legal status of privately owned e-scooters and push for all types of e-scooters to be legal, with stricter safety standards implemented.
“While e-scooter owners are likely to be aware that it is illegal to ride a privately-owned scooter thanks to advice from vendors, there are very few e-scooter users aware of the full criteria for legal use. Factors such as having a driving licence and age also play into the legality of e-scooter use and more must be done to raise awareness of this, together with awareness of possible sanctions.
“E-transport technology is very exciting and will support the UK in our efforts to reduce carbon emissions, and a change in the law would hold e-scooters to a high standard of safety and help to lower greenhouse gas emissions from transport, as well as cutting congestion and repurposing streets away from cars. It is only when all types of e-scooters are subject to the same standard of safety that we will see a reduction in preventable incidents.”
Research is currently under way in the University of Salford’s Acoustics Research Centre to develop a universal sound for e-scooters that could help to reduce the number of road accidents associated with them.
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