E-Scooter Safety

Recently, electric scooters (E- scooters) have been lawfully permitted on New York City roads, and with that, comes a rise in e-scooter accidents.

E-scooters are a fast, accessible, and environmentally friendly means of transportation, however, it is important to take safety precautions to keep yourself and others safe.

Safety precautions should take place prior to getting on the road. One of the ways you can do so is by making sure your e-scooter rides properly. Loss of balance accounts for a significant number of e-scooter injuries; therefore, if you are carrying a bag or a similar item ensure that it is balanced properly before riding to avoid accidents.

The law permits e-scooter riders to be in bicycle lanes and on roads where the speed limit is 30 miles per hour or less, so long as you are 16 years or older. E-scooters are not permitted to be ridden on the sidewalk, which can lead to crashes with pedestrians.

When riding an e-scooter, make sure to comply with NYC law and do not exceed 15 miles per hour. Keep in mind that the faster a rider is moving, that the longer it will take to brake and stop moving. This is important when approaching yellow or red lights, or when pedestrians or cyclists may be crossing the road.

Additionally, as an e-scooter rider, it is important to follow the rules of the road and obey traffic laws to keep yourself safe. This means not riding the wrong way down streets, ignoring red lights, including making a right on red where not permitted, and using an e-scooter under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

A majority of accidents and fatalities take place during dawn and when it is dark out, therefore, increasing visibility is key, especially critical during the winter months. By wearing bright colored clothing, you greatly increase visibility, and by wearing reflective clothing, you triple your visibility as compared to if you wear black clothing.

If you ride an e-scooter, a great way to maintain visibility during early morning or evening hours is to utilize reflect tape on your e-scooter and your helmet.

Wearing a helmet is recommended for all e-scooter riders and is required by law for those who are 16 and 17 years old. A helmet is a vital piece of safety equipment. Wearing a helmet can greatly decrease your risk of injury, brain injury, and even death. According to a meta-analysis, wearing a bike helmet can reduce the risk of a head injury by 48%, serious head injury by 60%, and traumatic brain injury by 53%.

In addition to wearing a helmet, proper footwear is vital for a safe e-scooter ride as well. Similar shoe guidelines apply to e-scooters as they do to bicycles, wearing closed toed shoes with a back to them that secure well to the foot.

Furthermore, just as a cell phone is distracting for car drivers, the same concept applies to e-scooter riders. Make sure not to use a cell phone will using an e-scooter, it is always safer to pull over if you need to check your phone. Listening to music is also distracting and will inhibit the rider’s ability to hear the sounds of oncoming traffic.

Overall, staying safe on an e-scooter is important for personal safety and for the safety of others, by following these guidelines you can prevent accidents and injury.

Jessica Dennehy, Trauma Injury Program Coordinator

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.