Guest Editorial: The Electric Epidemic: Injuries from Electric Scooters Rise in the Valley

By Robert Rich

In the midst of May, a monsoon of new transportation struck Scottsdale and Tempe. The electric scooter craze has had many fall in love with the pay-per-use form of transportation. While it’s understandably easy to laugh off any claims of them being a truly nefarious force brought upon Phoenix-Metro, a surprisingly large number of users have experienced some serious consequences from their use. These scooters have a bit more horsepower than meets the eye, causing some to simply fall too hard.

“Lots of extremity injures- broken bones, ankles. Sprains, all those types. Then you get into head injuries,” ER nurse Scott Ehlers said.

Ehlers has seen a huge uptick in these sorts of injuries ever since their introduction into the community.

“It seems like it’s two or three (injuries) a day,” Ehlers said.

The injuries he sees aren’t even the more serious ones, as the worst are sent to trauma centers.

“They don’t wear helmets. People aren’t just walking around with helmets and then climbing onto a scooter,” Ehlers said.

The worst place for these types of injures has been around Mill Avenue, as the dense population and college atmosphere has been a breeding ground for drunken incidents involving their use. They have been so much of a nuisance around Tempe that Arizona State University has even banned their use on campus.

While there has obviously been a large demand for this service, some measures will inevitably need to take place to ensure that their benefits outweigh their risks on the community. Not only do their obnoxiously bright colors, frequent beeping through the night and lack of storage spaces make them a littered nuisance to anyone not using them, they have also proven to be a legitimate risk to their users. Many other towns have an efficient system with rental bikes that do not bring about these issues. Until a better system, and business model, is implemented, the rest of Phoenix would be wise to follow suit and ban their use.