Calgarians wheel into hospitals by the dozen with injuries from new e-scooters

Calgary emergency rooms have seen 60 patients with injuries related to e-scooters in the two weeks since they became available in the city.

About a third of injuries were fractures, roughly 10% were injuries to face, head

Lime was the first company to roll out shareable e-scooters in Calgary, in early July, then Bird Canada launched. (Lime)

Dozens of Calgarians have been injured riding shared electric scooters since they became available two weeks ago in the city.

Calgary emergency rooms have seen 60 patients with e-scooter-related injuries so far.

About a third of them were fractures and roughly 10 per cent were injuries to the face and head.

The number of hospital visits has triggered a new study by the University of Calgary. Researchers hope to find out how dangerous it is to scoot.

"We have to look at whether this is a really dangerous trend or not and how it compares to what's already been previously reported," said Dr. Eddy Lang, who works in emergency rooms in Calgary and is leading the study.

CBC medical columnist Dr. Raj Bhardwaj said he, too, has witnessed such injuries while working in urgent care. 

Lime was the first company to roll out the shareable e-scooters in Calgary, two weeks ago, while Bird Canada has just launched.

"At Lime, the safety of our riders and the community is our Number 1 priority," said Christopher Schafer, the senior director of strategic development at Lime in Canada.

"That's why every day we're innovating on technology, infrastructure and education to set the standard for micromobility safety."

Some of Lime's safety initiatives include spending $3 million on an education campaign for rider safety and giving away 250,000 free helmets to riders worldwide.

E-scooters face fines if riding on streets

The province classifies e-scooters as prohibited miniature vehicles that can be used only on private property. However, the City of Calgary has permission to run a shared e-scooter pilot project until October 2020. 

City regulations say riders must be 18 years old, and both companies operating in Calgary allow only one rider at a time.

Users can ride only on sidewalks, pathways and in bike lanes. It is illegal to ride these single-user devices on city roads. 

A man uses a Lime e-scooter in Calgary with a boy standing in front of him. (Joel Schulz)

City bylaws state e-scooter riders can be fined $25 for riding on the street, $75 for riding on sidewalks where signs indicate they are prohibited and $150 for interfering with a pedestrian. 

Both shared e-scooter and e-bike riders must also park their vehicles out of the pedestrian path.


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