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Injuries associated with electric-powered bikes and scooters: analysis of US consumer product data

Abstract

Background Powered, two-wheeled transportation devices like electric bicycles (E-bikes) and scooters are increasingly popular, but little is known about their relative injury risk compared to pedal operated bicycles.

Methods Descriptive and comparative analysis of injury patterns and trends associated with E-bikes, powered scooters and pedal bicycles from 2000 to 2017 using the US National Electronic Injury Surveillance System.

Results While persons injured using E-bikes were more likely to suffer internal injuries (17.1%; 95% CI 5.6 to 28.6) and require hospital admission (OR=2.8, 95% CI 1.3 to 6.1), powered scooter injuries were nearly three times more likely to result in a diagnosis of concussion (3% of scooter injuries vs 0.5% of E-bike injuries). E-bike-related injuries were also more than three times more likely to involve a collision with a pedestrian than either pedal bicycles (OR=3.3, 95% CI 0.5 to 23.6) or powered scooters (OR=3.3, 95% CI 0.3 to 32.9), but there was no evidence that powered scooters were more likely than bicycles to be involved in a collision with a pedestrian (OR=1.0, 95% CI 0.3 to 3.1). While population-based rates of pedal bicycle-related injuries have been decreasing, particularly among children, reported E-bike injuries have been increasing dramatically particularly among older persons.

Conclusions E-bike and powered scooter use and injury patterns differ from more traditional pedal operated bicycles. Efforts to address injury prevention and control are warranted, and further studies examining demographics and hospital resource utilisation are necessary.

  • Bicycle
  • Descriptive Epidemiology
  • Epidemiology
  • Surveys
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