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Municipal, State Leaders Must Make Helmets a Requirement for Scooter Rentals

September 21, 2018

Vienna, Va. – Rentable scooters, also known as scooter sharing, appeared in metropolitan areas across the country in the past year. Companies like Bird, Lime, Scoot, or Spin offer smartphone applications allowing users to search for a scooter nearby, tap to rent it, and they are free to ride away. But they don’t require helmets, and representatives from emergency departments across the nation expressed concern throughout the summer.

Dockless electric scooters have an average top speed of 15 miles per hour, significantly faster than the 6 miles per hour cruising speed of a bicycle. They are also less than half the size, and in many cities’ downtown neighborhoods, ill-equipped to navigate the terrain – storm grates, broken sidewalks, potholes, and traffic.

“Injuries suffered in electric scooter accidents can be devastating, especially without a helmet,” offered BIAA’s President and CEO Susan Connors. “Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are devastating to the individual, his or her family members and loved ones, co-workers, and community. The scooter-related death in Dallas earlier this month is an example of the risk. A severely injured scooterist could become totally disabled, unable to work, and require a lifetime of ongoing personal, medical and rehabilitative care.”

Earlier this year, Bird – the largest electric scooter rental company in California – sponsored legislation before the California State Legislature to do away with helmet and driver’s license requirements, raise the maximum speed from 15 to 25 miles per hour, and allow the e-scooters on city sidewalks. The result, signed last week by Gov. Jerry Brown, requires only riders age 17 and under to wear a helmet.

“When you hit a pothole on a bicycle with a 26-inch wheel, you may have an issue,” added Connors. “When you hit a pothole on an e-scooter with a six-inch wheel, you are going to have an issue – no matter the age or size of a rider. City leaders must protect their communities by demanding e-scooter companies offer protective equipment – especially helmets – for all riders.”

About the Brain Injury Association of America:

The Brain Injury Association of America is the country’s oldest and largest nationwide brain injury advocacy organization. Our mission is to advance awareness, research, treatment, and education and to improve the quality of life for all people affected by brain injury. We are dedicated to increasing access to quality health care and raising awareness and understanding of brain injury.