By Michael Abeyta

DENVER (CBS4) – Lots of people find e-scooters to be a convenient way to get around downtown Denver. In just one hour on Tuesday night, Denver police responded to two crashes involving a vehicle and an e-scooter.

One happened at Colfax Avenue and Broadway; the other at 1st Avenue and Bannock Street.

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A pair of recent studies by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows they can also be dangerous.

(credit: CBS)

In 2019, they interviewed people who had come to a Washington D.C. emergency room with scooter-related injuries to figure out who is getting hurt, how they are getting injured and where they are getting injured.

They found while more injuries happen on the sidewalk, the most serious injuries happen in the street. You might think it is because scooters are being hit by cars, but that wasn’t the case.

Only 10% of the accidents in the road they studied involved being struck by a car. They think the severity of the accidents in the road may be due to how people ride scooters when in the road as opposed to on the sidewalk.

“We thought that people might be going faster in the street,” said Jessica Cicchino the Vice President of Research at the IIHS.

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The studies also compared injuries sustained by cyclists with those suffered by e-scooter riders. Bicycle riders are at greater risk of being hit by a car than e-scooter riders, but the injuries both cyclists and scooter riders sustained were equally as serious.

“Which was kind of surprising given that cyclists tend to be in the kinds of crashes that we would think would be more serious,” said Cicchino.

Arm and leg injuries are the most common injuries scooter riders received from falling or riding, but researchers did observe people with serious head injuries.

“We saw people with serious concussions, even people with skull fractures and of course hardly anybody was wearing a helmet,” Cicchino said.

The good news is the more you ride the safer it seems your rides will be. The studies found the more experienced riders get with e-scooters the less likely is they will be injured.

“About a third of the people from our study that were injured were on their very first ride,” said Cicchino.

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Cicchino says she thinks people can protect themselves by wearing a helmet when riding a scooter and slowing down especially if you are an inexperienced rider.

Michael Abeyta