Electric scooter can kill pedestrian at just 15.5mph, crash test reveals

AN e-scooter could cause a fatal injury after hitting a pedestrian at just 15.5mph, a crash test has revealed.

The experiment showed that the initial impact with a pedestrian could cause moderate injury such as lacerations or major bruising.

However, if the pedestrian was to hit their head on the floor as a result of the collision, the injuries sustained are highly likely to be fatal.

A test on a dummy equivalent to a three-year-old child saw it travel more than 21 feet as a result of the impact – more than six times its body length.

The independent study was carried out by crash test provider UTAC, and commissioned by Guide Dogs, to raise awareness of the risks of illegally-used, privately-owned e-scooters, of which sales have boomed alongside government-approved hire schemes.

The speed measured is the legal cap of government hire schemes, and the top speed of the UK’s most popular privately owned model.

But a poll of private e-scooter owners saw them admit to having hit top speeds of more than 21mph, with some scooters capable of 60mph and above.

Chris Theobald, Senior Policy, Public Affairs and Campaigns Manager at Guide Dogs said: “The trials of e-scooter hire schemes have sparked a boom in private sales, and we expect even more e-scooters to be bought as Christmas presents this month.

“We are urging the Government to work with the police to tackle illegal riding and make the public more aware of the law.

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“If the Government is seriously considering fully legalising e-scooters on public roads, they need to get a grip on safety.

"Our testing shows that everybody is at risk, not just those with visual impairments.

“Any legislation to legalise e-scooters has to fully address speeds, weights, sound, and critically, keep e-scooters off the pavement where they can do significant harm.”

A study of 2,000 adults found nearly one in 10 (nine per cent) claim to see an e-scooter being ridden on a daily basis, with 71 per cent of those instances being on pavements, where pedestrians are most at risk.

And this could rise as 23 per cent of those polled are planning to give or receive an e-scooter this Christmas.

However, just 47 per cent of all adults polled via OnePoll were aware it is illegal to ride a privately owned e-scooter on public roads or pavements.

Some choose to ignore the laws though as of those who ride privately owned e-scooters, 71 per cent do so despite knowing that is illegal.

Of these, 51 per cent think the police have other things to worry about while 45 per cent don’t think they’ll ever be punished for riding an e-scooter on public roads or pavements.

TEST RESULTS

Pedestrian:

Secondary impact (head hitting the floor) – HIC (head injury criterion) score of 2,625 – this is a 90 per cent chance of fatal injury.

First impact (head to head with rider) – HIC of 548 – 30 per cent chance of moderate injury.

Propelled 3.45m – 1.9x its body length/height.

The calculated HIC values stated for secondary impact and consequently the resultant probability of fatality detailed can only be used as an approximation.

Rider:

Secondary impact (head hitting the floor – HIC score of 2,194 – 25 per cent chance of fatal injury.

First impact (head to head with rider) – HIC of 548 – 30 per cent chance of moderate injury.

Child pedestrian test:

A child dummy travelled 6.45m.

Due to the disparate size of the rider and child dummy, it was decided to not measure for HIC, and level of injury.

The majority of riders (84 per cent) also admit to not considering the risk of those with visual impairments.

One third (33 per cent) of people report having had a negative experience of an e-scooter, and almost double that number (64 per cent) when it comes to people with visual impairments.

Elaine Maries, a guide dog owner from Milton Keynes, said:  “As someone with sight loss, it’s difficult for me to know when an e-scooter is coming as they travel at fast speeds silently.

“My guide dog Inca and I were once hit by a rider. I was putting her into her harness on the pavement outside my home.

"I could hear two voices getting closer and the next thing I knew I was hit with such a force that I was knocked over and into Inca.

“It was extremely unsettling as I had no idea what had hit me. Only afterwards was I told by a passing pedestrian that it was an e-scooter that had hit me.

"Luckily, neither Inca or I were injured from the incident, but as this crash testing shows, it could have been so much worse.”

In light of the findings, Guide Dogs has launched a petition asking the Prime Minister to make sure people with sight loss don’t lose out if e-scooters are introduced.

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