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UC San Diego trauma surgeon says number of scooter injuries increasing

A UC San Diego trauma surgeon on Tuesday told News 8 the number of scooter injuries are drastically increasing and is concerned about a public health issue.

SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – A UC San Diego Medical Center trauma surgeon on Tuesday told News 8 the number of scooter injuries are drastically increasing and doctors are concerned about a public health issue.

On Tuesday, a scooter-related accident on Mission Beach's Boardwalk was the third to happen after two more were reported this past weekend in the same area. 

"The scooter goes flying, the person flying - people get hurt," said Doug Neary, a Mission Beach resident. 

Dr. Leslie Kobayashi, UC San Diego Medical Center trauma surgeon for the surgeon for the Georgia man who died from a scooter fall injuries but because of patient privacy restrictions could not talk about the case.

"All of us are scrambling to find out how big of a public health concern this is going to be. Most of the time they say they were doing something stupid," said Dr. Kobayashi.

Additionally, Dr. Kobayashi said she is working with Scripps Mercy and a hospital in Austin, Texas to study patterns to see if and what type of call of action to take. 

"About 50% of the patients that we are testing are intoxicated on either alcohol or other illicit substances," she said. 

A spokesperson for San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said his proposal for speed zones, fees, data sharing and parking is expected to go before the City Council later this month or next. 

"I hate bans, but I think you are going to have to ban these things," said Neary. 

The CDC said it will conduct its first study of dockless scooter safety in Austin, Texas. 

Statement from the County's Health and Human Services about electric scooter-related injuries to News 8:

"At this stage we are not directly involved in research but are following other entities engaged in the research with interest.

It should be noted that we have not collected or researched that data so far because the data being collected in ERs previously made it difficult to ascertain if an injury was related to a scooter or something else, as source of the injury was not always called out directly."-Sarah Sweeney Communications Officer, San Diego County Health and Human Services"

Statement from the San Diego mayor’s office to News 8:

Statement from Lime to News 8:

At Lime, the safety of our riders and the community is our number one priority. That’s why every day we’re innovating on technology, infrastructure and education to set the standard for micromobility safety. We appreciate the attention on this very important issue, and we look forward to working with the industry, medical community and regulators to create a meaningful ecosystem for this new and evolving technology.

Lime has recently led several safety initiatives, including:

The launch of the Lime Gen 3 scooter with enhanced safety features, including upgraded wheels, better suspension, additional braking and improved balance.

Global leader protecting each ride with $1 million in liability insurance. Investing more than $3 million in our Respect the Ride campaign to educate riders about safety and responsible riding. 250,000 free helmets distributed to riders across the globe.

First of its kind Safety Brand Ambassador Program to engage communities and educate riders on safety.

Dedicated Customer Support and Trust, Education and Safety teams available to riders 24/7.

Convenors of an industry-wide Education and Safety Summit on micromobility.

We’re also working with local governments around the world to support infrastructure for shared scooters and bikes. It’s clear consumers want micromobility infrastructure too; 52.2% of Lime riders ranked a protected bike lane as their number one choice for riding. We believe continued government investment in protected bike lanes and paths is critical.

Many scooter riders are replacing car trips: in a survey of 20 of our global markets, 30% of Lime riders would have otherwise made their most recent trip by car if a scooter had not been available. Given the safety threat posed to vulnerable road users by cars, this mode shift away from cars may help to improve road safety.

                   Lyft statement to News 8:

We take scooter safety extremely seriously, and we have worked extensively with local officials and organizations to provide the best experience for riders and communities at large. Our policies and features include in-app education and tutorials before riding a Lyft scooter, guidance on how and where to park a scooter, and notifications in many areas where scooter riding and parking is restricted.

Statement from Uber spokesperson to News 8: 

"As we expand JUMP e-scooters and e-bikes, we are focused on how we can help protect the safety of our users and contribute to safer roads for everyone. We are continuously engaging with road safety experts and community advocates on ways we can contribute to safer roads and educating users to encourage safe riding behavior with in-app safety tips and the use of helmets."

Statement from Bird to News 8:

"Safety precedes everything we do at Bird. We're encouraged that individuals and third parties are examining the growing impact of e-scooters on mobility within cities, including San Diego. Data from tens of millions of shared e-scooter rides indicate that e-scooters and bicycles have similar risks and vulnerabilities. Bird continues, along with our Global Safety Advisory Board, to advance policies that enhance the safety of those riding e-scooters and advocate for more protected bike lanes in our communities. 

It is beyond reproach that American cities must shift away from cars, and re-designing streets to protect those who choose bikes, e-scooters, and other micro-mobility options is what we need to keep our commuters safe." -Paul Steely White, Director of Safety Policy and Advocacy at Bird

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