Improper use of electric scooters leads to 'too many' injuries, says doctor

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Rules on electric scooter use on the roads have only recently been adopted. Not minding the rules and riding the scooters recklessly leads to an increasing number of scooter-related injuries, said Uģis Zariņš, head doctor of the Traumatology and Orthopedics Hospital, on Latvian Radio June 25.

In May, rules on road safety using electric scooters entered into force, largely equating them to bicycles. Before Midsummer, the State Police, carried out preventive checks and closely monitored scooters for several days. The police said that there was a gradual improvement in the situation and that most riders were well informed of the rules. 

The overall situation is not so positive, as this year until June 18, the State Police recorded a total of 69 road accidents involving electric scooters drivers. 48 people were injured. According to the police, the most common offense is that two people are present on the same scooter, as well as speeding and running the red light.

Head doctor of Traumatology and Orthopedics Hospital, Uģis Zariņš, said that light bruises obtained in scooter accidents were an everyday occurrence but injuries have recently been increasingly severe.

“These drivers in many cases are not competent to use the equipment. There are falls, severe fractures that need to be treated surgically, followed by long-term treatment, rehabilitation and even potential lasting consequences. Calves, ankles, shoulders, head injuries, because a helmet is not used. Even the smallest hole on the road can cause a heavy fall,” the doctor said.

The severity of the widespread use of electric scooters is attributable to both falls during the journey and hitting pedestrians. Unfortunately, there are cases where drivers escape after a pedestrian has been hit.

"We have observed this tendency that especially young people, teens, when driving these scooters, knock people down and quickly disappear. The person remains on the street with his fracture. There was a case recently that the victim could not even tell what the driver looked like because he was hit from behind. The driver is gone, and it's practically impossible to find them. But the consequences of the victim are long-term treatment, fracture treatment and, more likely, lasting consequences,” the doctor said.

State Police said that the monitoring of electric scooter traffic would not be limited to pre-holiday inspections, but would continue until the end of the active use season of these vehicles.

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