Rise in Scooter Accidents With Increased Scooter Traffic Skip to content

Rise in Scooter Accidents With Increased Scooter Traffic

By Gréta Sigríður Einarsdóttir

A person riding an electric scooter by the Reykjavík city centre pond.
Photo: Golli.

From June to August this year, electric scooter accident rates have increased compared to the same period last year. Still, the increase is relatively smaller than the increase in scooter traffic, according to a National Hospital’s emergency ward report. The increase in accidents mainly consists of adults. The high accident rates on Friday and Saturday nights suggest that more education is needed on the dangers of riding scooters under the influence of alcohol or other substances.

Senior Physician at the National University Hospital’s emergency ward Hjalti Már Björnsson has issued data on scooter accidents. This summer, June, July, and August, 245 individuals sought visited the emergency ward with injuries from scooter accidents. During the same period last year, 149 scooter accidents resulted in an emergency ward visit, so the average incident rate increased from 1.6 to 2.7 per day.

Seventy-two children were injured compared to 68 last year, while the number of adults (18 years or older) rose from 81 to 173. Most of the accidents resulted in minor injuries, but four individuals were acutely admitted to the hospital. “In the majority of cases, it’s minor cuts, scrapes or sprains. We’ve had a few broken bones and some facial injuries,” Hjalti Már told Vísir.

The report notes that the increase in accidents is minor, considering the increase in scooter traffic. According to city officials and scooter rental companies, registered trips with rental scooters were just under 700,000 in the city centre during the summer of 2021. In addition, the country imported about 20,000 electric scooters over the last few years for private use. It can be assumed that about a million electric scooter trips were taken this summer. “So it seems that the number of accidents isn’t great considering the number of trips and the increase in accidents is likely relatively smaller than the increase in scooter travel,” the emergency ward report stated.

While the increase in accidents is relatively small, the data indicates more accidents over the weekends. There’s an average of 2.2 accidents per day during weekdays, but during the weekend, that rate shoots up to 3.7. Half of the accidents over the weekends occur during the night, from 11 pm to 5 am. Last year, 40% of adults who were injured on electric scooters had consumed alcohol. No such data was collected this year, but the increase in accidents on weekend nights gives cause to assume that alcohol or other substance consumption is a factor.

The report points out that electric scooters are a cheap and environmentally friendly mode of transport and that capital area infrastructure needs to be strengthened to ensure passenger safety. It also urges a campaign to educate people that alcohol and electric scooters aren’t a good mix. Finally, they suggest that improved public transport during weekends might lead to a decrease in accidents.

The public is encouraged to keep a few things in mind when using the electric scooters:

  • Riding an electric scooter takes practice, just like riding a bike. Caution is advised when getting used to this mode of transport.
  • There should never be more than one passenger on a scooter.
  • Slow down when making a turn or crossing uneven surfaces.
  • Under no circumstances should you use an electric scooter under the influence of alcohol or other substances.

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