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Scooting into Okanagan emergency rooms due to lack of helmets: Interior Health

Safety reminders issued following start of Vernon and Kelowna programs
Vernon’s Neuron e-scooters are a popular mode of travel, but there is concern over the lack of helmet use on them and related injuries. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

The popularity of e-scooters in the Okanagan means more injuries are taking place and officials are urging riders to follow the rules.

Kelowna and Vernon are the hubs of e-scooter activity, as both cities have pilot projects underway.

With summer in full swing, many people are enjoying these alternative low-carbon ways of getting around.

As this newer form of transportation is sharing the road with other modes, Interior Health (IH) wants to ensure injury prevention remains a top priority.

Evidence from 2021 suggests an increase in the number of scooter-related injuries as compared to the previous five years. The most affected age groups were young individuals between the ages of 20 and 40, and the most common types of injuries were fractures of the upper extremities and open wounds to the head and neck. More than 90 per cent of individuals injured did not wear a helmet at the time of injury.

“Road safety is everyone’s business,” said Dr. Silvina Mema, IH medical health officer. “It’s important that everyone plays their part to prevent transportation-related injuries and associated impacts experienced in our communities. There are significant health-care costs as well as personal impacts for people who experience serious injuries.”

Anyone who uses a privately owned or shared e-scooter is reminded to keep safety top of mind and follow the e-scooter provider specifications, such as:

· Wear a helmet

· Don’t carry passengers (e.g., doubling)

· Never ride under the influence of drugs or alcohol

· If you are a less experienced rider, start slow and in areas of low traffic

· Ride at a safe speed and in designated areas such as protected lanes and quiet streets

· Remember you must be 16 or older to ride an e-scooter in B.C. (Kelowna-based operators currently require you to be 18 or older)

· Know the rules - familiarize yourself with where you can and cannot ride

· Ensure your e-scooter is equipped with a braking system and added safety features, including a bell, lights and reflectors

These tips also apply to other types of active travel, such as cycling, skateboarding, non-electric scooters and roller skating/blading.

IH supports alternative modes of transportation and will continue to partner with communities to monitor health-related impacts.

READ MORE: E-bikes join e-scooters in Vernon in 2022

READ MORE: E-scooter age limit reduction rolls out in Vernon


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Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

Vernon has always been my home, and I've been working at The Morning Star since 2004.
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