The French medical school said e-scooters were becoming a public health risk and recommended mandatory wearing of helmets. Injuries have reportedly increased by nearly 180% between 2019 and 2022.
According to a recent report by the French Academy of Medicine, paraphrasing data collected from public records, 10 percent of French people say they regularly use electric scooters, three-quarters of whom are between the ages of 18 and 30.
According to road safety authorities, 24 people were killed and 11,256 others were injured in scooter accidents in France in 2021.
As of the end of August 2022, 19 people have been killed by scooters.
In 9 out of 10 accidents, the scooter user was not wearing a helmet.
Medical schools are pushing to change that and make helmets mandatory.
The rules have already been implemented in other countries such as Japan and South Korea, as well as cities such as Quebec, Los Angeles and Barcelona.
According to the academy, 75 percent of accidents are isolated falls, often related to carelessness.
Speeding, drinking alcohol, poor concentration, one-handed driving and using a mobile phone were also contributing factors.
The report found that road obstacles accounted for only a third of cases.
Injuries usually involve the forearm, elbow, and wrist, but head injuries are also common.
The report found that falls from scooters were more likely to result in skull trauma, jaw and nose fractures than falls from bicycles.
The American Medical Association is also pushing for stricter manufacturing standards, which would help improve safety.
Unfortunately, manufacturers have complete freedom to define the presence or absence of indicators, wheel diameter and platform width for these scooters.
Today, platforms average only 14 centimeters across. The report states that adults need an extra 10 cm to place their feet side by side, resulting in a more stable riding position.
In response to the rising number of accidents, sometimes fatal, cities have begun regulating the two-wheeled fleets that have flooded the market since 2018.
Nice, Montpellier and Toulouse have banned self-service scooters across the board.
In Paris, from November 2021, rental scooters will have a speed limit of 10 km/h in a designated “slow zone” in the city center and 20 km/h on main roads and cycle lanes.
Since September, the city of Lyon has banned minors from using self-service scooters.
The rule was instituted on August 22, 2022, a month after Iris and Warren, aged 15 and 17, were killed in a fatal collision with an ambulance.
But restricting the age limit didn’t really convince Gilles Bagou, an emergency anesthetist at a hospital in Lyon.
The number of people injured in scooter accidents in Lyon’s Rhône region increased by seven between 2017 and 2019, Bagou wrote in his 2021 report published in the scientific journal.
Head injuries account for “around 20 percent of cyclist accidents compared to 37 percent for scooter users,” he noted.
“The fall mechanism for scooters is different, with a more forward slope above the handlebars. As for bikes, it’s easier for people to fall sideways,” Bagou told BFM television on Monday.
Banning minors from self-service scooters isn’t enough, he said.
“The problem is awareness. If young people know how to ride scooters, there will be fewer accidents. We should also see if this ban on minors is actually followed,” he continued.