E-bike injury rate increasing in some locations with scooter trauma expected to spike again this summer

Last month, the Sharp Coronado Hospital’s emergency department saw an increase in the number of e-bike riders passing through its doors.

Although she did not have any official statistics to pinpoint the trend, Dr Megan DeMot, an emergency specialist at the area’s only medical center, said the pattern was quite clear: Most are holidaymakers who decided to rent a bike and get out. the city bike path to reach popular destinations served only by regular roads, those that are often crowded with cars.

“When I see them, they usually have some kind of intersection with a car,” he said. “It can be a bit unexpected for riders, because they do not necessarily expect a bike to go as fast as e-bikes.”

In general, he said, the result is predictable. While e-bikes are heavier and can accelerate faster than traditional cycles due to their built-in electric motors and built-in rechargeable batteries, even relatively low-speed collisions with cars tend to go the way of traditional pedal thrusts.

“We’ve definitely seen limb fractures and, very often, head injuries,” DeMott said. “He is much busier here during the summer months and I expect to see even more such injuries.”

Coronado law enforcement authorities were recently forced accelerate speed limit in the San Diego Bayshore Bikeway section due to some exceeding the 15 mph speed limit on the 24 mile road, while the city of Carlsbad recently passed a new ordinance on motor vehicles after documentation escalation of conflicts, ban on use on public sidewalks, sewers, culverts, canals, sports fields and gyms.

The upward trend clearly began with the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, which provided an unprecedented opportunity to ride a bicycle on public roads without regular cars. Sales of bicycles of all kinds, and especially e-bikes, increased and waiting lists for a year formed quickly. Fast forward to the spring of 2022 and there is a new interest in anything a person can travel without burning a gallon after a gallon of very expensive gas.

Although e-bikes share the same promotional technology as electric scooters, the health effects they cause seem, at least so far, somewhat less serious.

The trauma unit at Scripps Mercy Hospital in Hillcrest has seen a clear resurgence of scooter-related chaos as pandemic restrictions have eased and two-wheeler rental smartphones can reappear everywhere in popular locations, especially in downtown San Diego. Mercy recorded 52 scooter-related injuries in 2021 after handling only 9 in 2020. This is the largest number in the last year, with 43 in 2019 and 37 in 2018.

Dr. Vishal Bansal, Scripps’s director of trauma surgery, said that about half of scooter-related injuries serious enough to be classified as intoxicating involve one or the other, and the consequences can be quite long-term, especially for those with brain injuries. . Recovery times for head injuries tend to be quite long.

“They generally never go back to normal, it takes months to years – sometimes never – to have a full recovery of the brain,” he said.

Dr Leslie Kobayashi, a trauma surgeon at UCSD Medical Center, also in Hillcrest, echoed the remarks of Scripps colleagues. In general, there are about half a dozen scooter-related injuries a month, but that number jumped to twelve to 25 a month last summer.

“This summer will really be a test of what is going to happen now that pandemic restrictions have stopped, scooters are back and the weather is warming up,” he said.

No doctor said he could recall a recent increase in injuries among cyclists and this may be, some have speculated, that cyclists may be more likely to wear a helmet. DeMott, a Coronado emergency specialist, said most of the recent cycling injuries she suffered were wearing helmets when they arrived and no one had serious enough injuries to be transported to the UCSD Trauma Center, which has been assigned to handle all of these cases. in Koronado.

It is also clear that the healthcare system has not yet been set up to detect when an electronic bicycle is involved in a traumatic injury. These vehicles are so new that there is no distinction between electric and analog in the codes used by the first responders to document the injuries.

“We capture the fact that it was a bicycle, but we do not always get the detailed information that it was an electric bicycle,” Bansal said. “I suspect there is some degree of injury from these things, but we just do not have this data to be able to say one way or another at this point.”

There is also a building interest in the safety of e-bikes.

The San Diego Bicycle Coalition has seen widespread participation in e-cycling classes across the region, with 1,000 Encinitas high school students joining in on a recent Zoom-based banquet and a new partnership with the American Automobile Association.

Kevin Baross, League of America Bicyclists’s coaching program director and cycling instructor since he was 18, said the teaching includes documenting how to use e-bikes and a reminder of the same road rules as e-bikes. as is the case for traditional muscle-only varieties. State law, he noted, gives cyclists unquestionable rights to use the roads, provided they stay on the right “as long as possible”. Parked cars can push bicycles into the flow of car traffic with mixed effects.

Problems, Baross said, tend to occur when drivers of four-wheelers are distracted or speeding, and when cyclists behave in unpredictable ways. Those unfamiliar with being so close to cars and trucks, he said, may seek to minimize their presence and it may also not be clear that when mixing with 000 3,000 cars, they will have to abide by the same conventions, especially when it comes to stop signs.

“You would not drive through stop signs, you would not drive into the gutter, you would be in the lane in a way that makes you predictable and makes it so that people know what you are going to do next,” Barros said. “Many times when people are in these difficult situations, it is because they assume that they can act in a way that is not the same way they would act if they were in a vehicle.

“They assume that people will see them coming and get out of the way or they assume that they can walk around someone and not even notice that they were there from the beginning. These are the situations that will cause problems. “Acting in a way that makes you visible, acting in a way that makes you predictable, is almost always the best idea.”

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E-bike injury rate increasing in some locations with scooter trauma expected to spike again this summer Source link E-bike injury rate increasing in some locations with scooter trauma expected to spike again this summer

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