New York legalized electric scooters and bicycles in 2020. Since then, people have used them to get around the city. Electric scooters come in handy for many reasons; making deliveries, getting to work, and sightseeing are just a few. They are more environmentally friendly and less expensive than cars. They can also save you from driving through Manhattan traffic.
If you ride responsibly, obey traffic laws and wear protective equipment, electric scooters can be a fun and efficient way to travel around Manhattan. However, riding them can also involve risk.
Electric Micromobility Accidents Are on the Rise
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that between 2017 and 2020, injuries involving micro-mobility products — electric scooters, electric bikes and hoverboards — increased by an astounding 70%.
Electric Scooters Play a Big Role in Injuries
You may wonder which vehicle caused the most injuries. The CPSC reports that electric scooters played the largest part. Much of the four-year increase happened due to a spike in emergency-department visits for electric scooter accidents. They caused three times as many ED visits as other micro-mobility vehicles.
To understand just how big of a jump electric scooter injuries took, look at the numbers. The CPSC reports 7,700 ED visits in 2017 — and 25,400 in 2020.
Manhattan Electric Vehicle Accident Statistics
In 2022, 349 accidents in Manhattan involved electric scooters or bikes. Sadly, 359 people sustained injuries, and two people lost their lives.
Those are statistics from just one year, though. Since 2017, 556 crashes involving electric scooters or bikes have taken place. Five people lost their lives in these accidents, and 571 people sustained injuries.
Where Electric Vehicle Accidents Happen in Manhattan
Electric vehicle accidents happen throughout the borough. A crash map shows a pretty even distribution of crashes, although West 125th Street and Central Park South are hot spots.
Between 2017-2022, fatal accidents happened on:
- West 24th Street
- East 61st Street
- Third Avenue
- Pleasant Avenue
Most, though not all, crashes take place at intersections. Cross streets have a higher incidence of accidents because drivers who are turning don’t always expect to see a scooter — especially if the scooter rider is on the sidewalk, where many people ride. (Riding an e-scooter on a sidewalk is illegal in New York except where local ordinance allows.)
Why Do Electric Vehicle Accidents Happen?
Many factors can contribute to an electric scooter or bicycle accident. More than half of the Manhattan accidents between 2017 and 2022 had an unspecified cause. Of the crashes that had a reason listed, most happened due to driver inattention or distraction.
Other factors contributing to electric vehicle accidents in the specified period include:
- Failure to yield the right-of-way
- Pedestrian, cyclist or scooter rider confusion
- Disregarding traffic control
- Improper passing or lane usage
- Unsafe speed
Electric scooter accidents can also happen due to uneven pavement, road debris, slippery areas on the road, or scooter mechanical failure.
Who Gets Injured in an Electric Scooter Accident?
As you can imagine, most injured people in Manhattan electric vehicle accidents are the ones outside of the car. While 50 motorists sustained injuries in accidents with electric vehicles between 2017-2022, none were killed.
Car passengers are safer in accidents than pedestrians, cyclists or scooter riders. They have a car to protect them from injury. Pedestrians and electric vehicle riders are vulnerable. Even with the proper riding equipment — long sleeves, helmets and other protective items — they ride out in the open.
Types of Injuries Electric Scooter Accidents Can Cause
Electric scooter accidents can result in many types of injuries, both minor and severe.
Head and Neck Injuries
Thirty percent of people who visit the emergency department after an electric scooter crash have head and neck injuries. They include:
- Neck, face and skull fractures
- Dental injuries
- Bleeding in the brain
Despite the high instance of head and neck injuries in electric scooter accidents, most people don’t wear helmets when riding an electric scooter. Fewer than 5% of people with injuries reported wearing them.
The second most common type of trauma following an electric scooter crash is injuries to the extremities. They include:
- Soft tissue injuries
Spinal injuries, rib fractures, pelvic fractures and organ injuries can also happen in an accident on an electric scooter. These injury types are less common than head, neck and extremity injuries.
Cuts, Scrapes and Bruises
Some injuries are less severe. They might not put riders in the hospital, but they are nonetheless significant. Bruises, cuts and scrapes can send riders to urgent care and cause them to miss work due to pain.
Is It Safe To Ride an Electric Scooter in Manhattan?
Millions of people enjoy the convenience, reduced expense and fun of electric scooters daily. Riding an electric scooter around Manhattan can be safe and enjoyable when riders follow the laws, ride defensively and safely, and wear protective gear. They can shorten a trip to the subway or get people to the office faster. Riders can cruise around the city and admire the sights or grab a bite to eat several blocks away.
Electric Scooter Safety Tips
Some safety tips from the CPSC can go a long way toward keeping you safe on an electric scooter.
Check the Scooter for Damage
Whether you rent one on the street or use your own, you should conduct a safety check before starting your ride. Inspect the different parts, including:
Wear Protective Gear
Helmets are an essential piece of protective gear. While not legally required in New York City, safety officials strongly recommend one. A good-fitting helmet can safeguard you from many types of head injuries.
Knee and elbow pads are also good to wear. They can guard against scrapes and bruises if you fall off your scooter.
Test the Brakes
Different scooters can have different stopping distances. Make sure you know how long it takes to bring the scooter to a stop.
Alert Motorists and Pedestrians
The silent motors in electric scooters can make it hard to hear you coming. Use your bell or horn when approaching others. Don’t assume motorists can see you; watch for them as you ride, and don’t make sudden, unpredictable movements.
Never use a scooter while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. They impair your riding ability, balance and judgment.
Hold the Handlebars
Keep both hands on the handlebars, and don’t hang objects from them.
Watch for Obstacles on the Road
Bumpy pavement, puddles, debris, ice, snow, and gravel can cause your scooter to slip. Slow down and lean backward if you must drive over bumps.
Follow the Rules
Follow all traffic laws while riding an electric scooter. In addition, follow the manufacturer’s directions. Read the age and weight limits before riding. They are posted for your safety.
Call Cellino Law After an Electric Scooter Accident
At Cellino Law, we know how overwhelmed you can feel after an electric scooter accident. You may have questions about who was at fault, how you will pay medical bills, or what you will do about lost work time and wages.
We offer a free consultation, so you can discuss your case with us without worrying about an initial bill. If you have a claim, you only pay us if you win. Reach out to our team for assistance. We can answer your questions following an electric scooter accident.