Policy makers are grappling with the advent of a variety of new transportation technologies known as micromobility. These include e-scooters, e-bikes, as well as conventional bicycles. While these modes of travel offer many opportunities for more sustainable mobility there are concerns about the risk of injury, particularly those associated with e-scooters. In New Jersey, conventional bicycle and/or pedestrian-involved crashes make up just 3% of motor vehicle crashes but represent 30% of fatalities (Younes, Noland, Von Hagen, et al., 2023). E-scooters are often perceived as more dangerous than other micromobility modes, and we have begun to examine these issues.
Do e-scooters lead to more severe injuries than other micromobility modes? Which micromobility injuries are most commonly associated with a motor vehicle? What are some demographic differences related to e-scooter injuries (with equity implications)?
To answer these questions, we used the latest data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS). The NEISS database is a stratified probability sample of emergency departments (EDs) within the United States (USCPSC, 2021). Their sampling frame includes hospitals with at least 6 beds and providing 24-hour emergency care. NEISS coders review and extract data from medical charts of patients who had product-related injuries for approximately 100 sampled hospitals across the nation. Case weights are included to produce a nationally representative estimate of injuries. In 2020, the CPSC updated their codebook to discern between e-scooters and skateboard injuries, offering the possibility to analyze injuries among three popular micromobility modes in the United States: bicycles, e-scooters, and e-bikes.