ore than 100 people were seriously injured riding e-scooters in London last year, it has been revealed.
Transport for London said that 98 people were badly hurt and three killed in the capital riding the battery-powered scooters, which are illegal to use on public roads and pavements.
TfL said the number of casualties had increased dramatically, from one in 2017, and now accounted for three per cent of all people killed or seriously injured on London roads.
It came as the first medical study into the injuries suffered by riders – and pedestrians they crash into – found that many suffered “life-changing” wounds, with almost a third requiring surgery.
The research found 105 orthopaedic injuries in 83 patients treated at three London hospitals – Chelsea and Westminster, Charing Cross and St Mary’s – between March 1 and November 30, 2020.
Lead researcher Nina de la Cruz, an orthopaedic surgeon, said the injured included children who had fallen after riding with a friend or adult on the same e-scooter.
She said many injuries were sustained late at night, with the rider not wearing a helmet or reflective clothing.
She launched the research after noticing the number of e-scooter riders arriving injured at hospital at the start of the pandemic.
“All of a sudden there were so many referrals for e-scooter related injuries,” she said. “When we checked the data we were surprised how many patients we were getting. Some of them were properly high-impact trauma that required operative management.”
Published in the Royal College of Surgeons of England’s journal Annals, the research recorded 93 fractures, including 12 open fractures. A total of 25 people required an operation.
More than 40 per cent of riders admitted travelling above 15mph, and a third of the crashes happened on pavements. Four pedestrians were among the injured – including one person who fell over an abandoned e-scooter.
Almost three-quarters of injuries were caused by falls, with the remainder resulting from a collision with a moving vehicle or stationary object. Six patients were found to have been drinking or on drugs.
The research said: “This study demonstrated that e-scooter use can be associated with high-energy trauma including neck of femur fractures in otherwise fit young adults, open upper and lower limb fractures and fracture dislocations.
“These are life-changing injuries that may be preventable with the introduction and enforcement of specific safety measures for e-scooters.”
The study only involved privately-owned e-scooters. But Ms de la Cruz said there had been recent cases of injuries from people using the TfL-backed rental e-scooters.
Fifteen serious injuries have been reported by the three operators to TfL to date.
TfL chiefs regard the use of privately owned e-scooters as akin to the “Wild West”.
They were banned from the Tube and wider TfL network, including all buses, due to fire safety concerns last December.
But this resulted in 258 “interventions” by TfL enforcement officers in the first month to prevent passengers bringing them on to the Underground, with two being prosecuted.
TfL said there were 13 incidents of “work-related violence and aggression” involving passengers with e-scooters between October and December, up from seven in the previous three months.