Hoverboards, electric scooters and electric bikes are the transportation of choice for a growing number of Americans, but they're taking many straight to the emergency room.
Injuries associated with these so-called "micromobility products" skyrocketed 70% between 2017 and 2020, according to a soon-to-be-released report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
That increase dovetails with greater use of these transportation alternatives as Americans return to work, school and other activities.
Between 2017 and 2020, injuries related to micromobility products resulted in more than 190,000 visits to U.S. emergency departments.
The numbers rose steadily -- from 34,000 in 2017 to 44,000 in 2018, 54,800 in 2019 and 57,800 last year, according to a CPSC news release.
E-scooters accounted for much of the surge: 7,700 ER visits in 2017; 14,500 in 2018; 27,700 in 2019; and 25,400 in 2020.
The injuries often involved arms and legs, as well as the head and neck, the findings showed.
The commission said it's aware of 71 deaths associated with micromobility products during the study period, but noted that reporting is incomplete.
Hazards associated with e-scooters, hoverboards and e-bikes mainly owe to mechanical, electrical and human factors. To reduce these hazards, CPSC is working with ASTM International (formerly known as American Society for Testing and Materials) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) to improve voluntary product standards.
Meanwhile, the CPSC called on users to take several steps to protect themselves.
When using micromobility products, always wear a helmet.
And before riding an e-scooter, check it for any damage. This includes examining the handlebars, brakes, throttle, bell, lights, tires, cables and frame. Damage can cause a loss of control and lead to a crash.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has more e-scooter safety tips.
SOURCE: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, news release, Sept. 30, 2021