CDC releases study on scooter injuries; San Antonio takes notice

By Sarah Acosta - Reporter, Lee Carpio - Photojournalist

SAN ANTONIO - The safety of scooters is now being looked at on a national level.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now trying to answer the questions: How safe are scooters and what kind of injuries do they cause?

The CDC recently released a study on scooter related injuries in Austin.

The city of San Antonio said the study confirms the city’s ideas of the severity of scooter related injuries and what may lead to them.

“It's nice to have another entity or organization out there looking at it, particularly (an entity) like the CDC,” said John Jacks, director of the Center City Development and Operations Department.

In the CDC study, 271 people who were looked at for a scooter-related injury were sent to a hospital.

The study said nearly half of them suffered a severe injury. The severe injuries included 84% fractured bones, 45% ligament nerve or tendon injuries and 3% head injuries.

The San Antonio Fire Department has been keeping record of scooter injuries locally since September 2018. Currently, 148 riders have gone to the hospital for a scooter injury.

Dr. C.J. Winckler, deputy medical director of the fire department, hopes to use the data to possibly do a similar study in San Antonio. He encourages riders to wear a helmet and think of riding a scooter like driving a car.

“Defensive driving, like if you get on that and think ‘What is the safest thing I can do to get to accomplish my task to get from A to B?’” Winckler said.

The study also shows that the majority of the injuries happen to first-time riders. How fast the rider is going can also be a factor.

Jacks said the factors will be taken into consideration when presenting to City Council next week. Two of those factors include limiting scooter speed limit to 15 mph and providing more rider education.

Next Wednesday, the department overseeing the dockless vehicle program will present its recommendations to the City Council of its findings from the six-month pilot.

The department will also make recommendations to the council on what needs improvement.

The City Council is expected vote on the recommendations May 30.

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