Electric scooters are clogging
up big city sidewalks and jamming up hospital rooms, too.

Using U.S. emergency room
reports of e-scooter injuries, scientists estimate there were 19 injuries per
100,000 people in 2018, compared with just 6 injuries per 100,000 in 2014.
That’s a 222 percent jump in four years, scientists report January 8 in JAMA Surgery. The spike comes as companies increasingly offer rental
scooters as easy, fast and cheap alternatives to cars.

Because the researchers
relied on U.S. hospital records, they don’t know the reasons for the crashes;
alcohol, speed or reckless driving could all have been at play. Information
about helmets wasn’t available either, but other studies of e-scooter riders
suggest that the protective gear isn’t common.

Adults aged 18 to 34
accounted for about a third of the estimated 14,651 e-scooter injuries in 2018.
That same year, these young adults also sustained 44 percent of the 1,374
e-scooter injuries that warranted admission to a hospital.

The rise in these injuries
mirrors the rise of e-scooters in recent years. In 2018, there were more than 85,000
electric scooters for rent in about 100 U.S. cities, the National Association
of City Transportation Officials estimates.