A new report released by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) notes that electric scooters, bicycles and skateboards are being used more and more by Americans as a way to get to and from work or school, or for fun.
But the CPSC also found that injuries and deaths treated in emergency rooms (ER) caused by the use of these products are also increasing, so it reminds consumers to exercise caution and safety with these devices.
According to the CPSC, from 2017 to 2021, injuries increased 127% to 77,200 for micromobility devices, and the number of deaths increased from 5 to 48.
Electric scooters had the highest percentage increase in injuries, accounting for 68 deaths in the same period. E-scooters accounted for the majority of emergency room visits (56%), but incidents involving e-scooter rentals were not far behind (44%).
The CPSC report found that African-American consumers accounted for 31% of ER visits with micromobility products, a significantly higher proportion than the 13% of the population in the entire country.
The main hazards in e-scooter and e-bike fatalities were motor vehicle incidents and user control problems, followed by fires.
Fires involving the lithium-ion batteries that power electric scooters, as well as electric bikes and hoverboards, have drawn the attention of fire departments across the country, so CPSC Calls on Consumers to Join Fire Prevention Week Oct. 9-15.
CPSC recommends these tips to prevent fires with these devices:
– Always be present when charging devices that use lithium-ion batteries. Never charge them while sleeping.
– Use only the charger that comes with your device.
– Use only a approved replacement battery pack.
– Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper charging and unplug the device when finished.
– Never use an electric mobility device with a battery pack that has been modified/rebuilt by unqualified personnel or with reused or used cells.
– NEVER dispose of lithium batteries in the trash or general recycling. Instead, take them to your local battery recycler or hazardous waste collection center.
CPSC is working in collaboration with PHMSA, FAA and EPA to alert consumers to the dangers of lithium-ion batteries and their safe use, including in micromobility devices.
Since motor vehicle collisions and user control problems are the most common hazards, users should exercise extreme caution.
CPSC urges consumers to do the following:
– Watch the public service announcement about safe driving.
– Always wear a bicycle helmet.
– Before driving, be sure to check for any damagewhich includes examining the handlebars, brakes, throttle, bell, lights, tires, cables, and frame.
– see and be seen. Most of the deaths involve motorized vehicles. Many micromobility products are small, fast, and quiet, making it hard for others to spot you, especially in parking lots and structures.
– Expect vehicle drivers and pedestrians not to see you; slow down and be aware of your surroundings.
– Use the bell/horn to alert others.
– Do not do sudden and unpredictable movements.
– watch out for obstacles. Electric scooters have small tires, so objects and uneven surfaces can cause them to stop suddenly and cause falls.
– Always keep both hands on the handlebars and keep objects off the handlebar.
– Slow down and lean backs when you have to go through potholes.
– never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
– Only one person per e-scooter; additional passengers can increase the risk and severity of crashes.
– Follow all manufacturer instructions, review safety information, and identify weight and age limits for the micromobility product.
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