E-scooter crashes cause catastrophic injuries, doctors warn

One death and 24 serious injuries involving e-scooters this year so far, gardaí report

E-scooters have a “weaponised impact” on the human body, and users are experiencing “catastrophic injuries” in crashes, an orthopaedic consultant has said.

Prof Eoin Sheehan, of the Midlands Regional Hospital in Tullamore, was speaking alongside gardaí as part of a campaign on the dangers of e-scooters, given the growing volume of crashes arising from them.

Deputy Garda Commissioner Anne Marie McMahon said gardaí have seen increased usage of e-scooters, especially in towns and urban areas.

“Members of An Garda Síochána have attended collisions involving e-scooters where serious injuries have been sustained. Regrettably there has been one fatality and 24 serious injury collisions involving e-scooters to date in 2022,” she said.


Ms McMahon said it was an offence to supply a mechanically propelled vehicle, which would include e-scooters, to a person aged under 16.

“Given the speed and impact of these vehicles, they are not a suitable mode of transport for young teenagers or children,” she said.

Prof Sheehan said mechanised vehicles such as e-scooters “have a weapon-like impact on the human body such is the force and impact involved”.

“The lack of high-visibility clothing and helmets along with the speed of e-scooters is causing catastrophic injuries. Only this week, new research in the UK has shown e-scooter accidents have tripled between 2020 and 2021,” he added.

On the issue of visibility, Ms McMahon said so far in 2022, 25 pedestrians have been killed on Irish roads, the vast majority of whom were not wearing high visibility clothing or carrying a light.

“My message today is that all road users should be mindful of their own safety and the safety of others on the roads this winter period,” she said.

Orthopaedic consultant Dorothy Niall said she cannot overstate the dangers of wearing dark clothing. “The dark mornings and evenings are here for the winter, and unless pedestrians, joggers and cyclists are wearing high-vis jackets that shine brightly, they will simply not be seen,” she added.

Consultant Muiris Kennedy who is also based in the Midlands Regional Hospital, Tullamore, said the issue of visibility is an urban problem as well.

“Teenagers and children very often think that because they are cycling in a lit-up urban area that they don’t need high-vis jackets. Nothing could be further from the truth. My advice to road users is: ‘Just because you can see ahead does not mean others can see you’. Plain and simple; you must be seen in order to be safe,” he added.

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers is Health Correspondent of The Irish Times