Revealed: Hundreds of e-scooter casualties in London needed hospital treatment, shock report finds

King’s College Hospital saw 196 people in 2020 with injuries from e-scooters, while eight e-scooter riders were treated for major head injuries at the Royal London Hospital this year.

Almost 200 patients attended a London A&E department with injuries from electric scooters last year, a safety report has revealed.

King’s College Hospital saw 196 people in 2020 with injuries from e-scooters, while eight e-scooter riders were treated for major head injuries at the Royal London Hospital this year.

The eight patients made up 10% of all road traffic casualties at the hospital from January to August 2021, which treated more than 70 cases, including 11 motorcyclists and 17 cyclists.

Mr Chris Uff, consultant neurosurgeon clinical lead at the Royal London Hospital major trauma centre, said: “We treat road traffic casualties with the most serious injuries.

“Although the number of e-scooter riders admitted this year is relatively small, the severity of their injuries are more similar to those of motorcyclists than pedal cyclists.”

(Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

These figures come in a report from the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) looking into the safety of private e-scooters.

At the Royal London trauma centre, “each e-scooter casualty was brought in by ambulance and two stayed in the intensive care unit for over a week, both following urgent neurosurgery,” the report, which was published on October 31, found.

The report claims e-scooter casualties are suspected to be “underreported more than other road casualties” and a brain injury charity has called for helmets to be made compulsory.

“We want the government to require users of e-scooters to wear a helmet and ensure helmet usage is recorded for e-scooter riders in accident statistics,” Peter McCabe, chief executive of Head, the brain injury association.

It comes after some 50 councils rolled out e-scooter rental trials last year - when 360,000 e-scooters were also bought privately.

Casualties have been treated at the Royal London Hospital. Photo: Shutterstock

Transport for London (TfL) launched its e-scooter trial in June 2021 covering Camden, City of London, Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Richmond upon Thames, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, and Westminster.

The council, which supports the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Transport Safety, aims to “protect human life” by advising MPs and Lords on air, rail and road safety issues.

The report consists of data from the Department of Transport, hospital audits and media reports, and found there were at least 300 casualties involving e-scooters across the UK from January to October this year, with ages of injured riders ranging from four to 82 years.

Titled The Safety of Private E-Scooters in the UK, it states: “The factsheet notes ‘the Met police reported 60% of Great Britain accidents involving e-scooters, this compares to 21% of all accidents reported by the Met police’.”

It continued: “In the first 10 months of 2021, there have been nine deaths and other casualties involving both riders and other road users.

“Head injuries and rider falls, as well as collisions with a motor vehicle, are a concern.”

Casualties have been treated at the King’s College Hospital. Photo: Shutterstock

PACTS has also warned it anticipates non-fatal casualties in 2021 increasing “considerably”.

It also reveals that men are twice as likely as women to suffer e-scooter related injuries in the UK and that riders are often drunk or on drugs.

And the PACTS report states that "hundreds of thousands" of the UK’s privately-owned e-scooters "are being used illegally on roads and in other public places".

It is illegal to ride a private e-scooter in public places including roads, pavements, parks or cycleways.

However, it is difficult to establish the scale of incidents as there is currently no category for the police to report e-scooter casualties, the report warned.

Hospitals have no set method for collating details and, as the vehicles are uninsurable, claims often do not register as being related to an e-scooter when applications are made.

Pacts is a registered charity comprised of 100 member organisations, and plans to publish a final report on the issues in early 2022.