Doctors repeatedly ask public to be careful on electric scooters

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With the weather getting more pleasant, the Rīga East Clinical University Hospital (RAKUS) sees people injured in scooter accidents almost daily. Injuries are often severe, and doctors repeatedly plead with the public to wear helmets and treat other road users with respect, Latvian Television reported on May 15.

The RAKUS radiologist Aelita Žvīgure told LTV about the injury of a minor patient after they had got into a scooter accident. The patient was in a coma after the incident.

“We see a 3D image of the patient with skull damage, a splintering fracture, with changes in skull bones. This is a fracture of the temple bone. There is also a fracture at the front of the pyramid. There is a fracture in the outer wall of the eye, a fracture in the upper jaw,” Žvīgure said.

The prognosis after such injuries is poor. Unfortunately, this is not the only patient in such a severe condition. Nearly every day, someone injured in a scooter accident comes to the hospital.

RAKUS doctor Aleksejs Višņakovs said that the percentage of disability and mortality when crashing with an electric scooter is very high:

"The specifics of this vehicle usually injure the face, jaws, and also the head and the brain. Consequently, the percentage of disability and mortality is very high.

"Not only are they injuring themselves, but we have had a number of cases, even recently, when the scooters hit a pedestrian. Elderly patients who are struggling to move and unable to react rapidly to what is happening, especially if the [electric scooter] is driving on pedestrian sidewalks, are unfortunately in hospital with severe injuries."

Seeing every day the condition in which patients are admitted, doctors are asking for more attention to safety issues. Višņakovs believes there need to be stricter limits to improve driving culture.

"Virtually every day there's someone with a scooter injury. Those who break their limbs when they fall are lucky. It's a lighter injury. Those patients who are in severe condition, in some cases, become organ donors, at best. These are young people, but the brain does not recover after these injuries," Višņakovs said.

It is not currently planned to ban the movement of electric scooters in Latvia. They can be both purchased and leased. In theory, they must not be driven at a speed higher than 25 kilometers per hour, and should be used on the street, not sidewalk. In many cases, though, the drivers choose the sidewalk for their own safety, which can lead to crashes with pedestrians.

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