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CPSC finds micromobility injuries rose 127% since 2017

Published October 11, 2022
Safety agency counts 53 e-bike fatalities in the US between 2017-2021.

WASHINGTON — Injuries involving micromobility devices including e-scooters, hoverboards and e-bikes were up 127% between 2017 and 2021 according to a new report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The CPSC report also counted 48 deaths involving the products last year, including 23 deaths involving e-bikes. The total number of micromobility device fatalities was up from just five in 2017. 

The report found that Black consumers sustained injuries at a higher rate than other groups. While Black consumers were involved in 31% of the micromobility injuries, while the group makes up just 13% of the U.S. population. However, only 76% of injury reports studied contained race/ethnicity information so there is some uncertainty about the statistic. 

The injury and fatality figures were not correlated to the number of hours or miles ridden on the devices or the number of devices sold during the period. However, the report did examine injuries and fatalities by age and gender and categorized fatal accidents by associated hazards, such as motor vehicle accidents, user-control issues, and others.

The data were compiled from CPSC’s Consumer Product Safety Risk Management System (CPSRMS) and the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS). The 2020-2021 figures are still being compiled and may change. 

E-bike stats.

The total number of e-bike fatalities between 2017 and 2021 was 53. There were eight hoverboard fatalities and 68 e-scooter fatalities in the period. 

Of the e-bike fatalities counted, 46 of them involved males and seven were females. By age, the 18-29 group suffered 33 fatalities and the 60-and-over group had 17. There were no reported e-bike fatalities involving riders under age 18, although the age of the victim was unknown on three fatalities. 

Some other findings:

  • Collisions with motor vehicles were the leading cause of death associated with e-bikes, accounting for 27 of the 53 reported deaths.
  • Twelve e-bike fatalities were due to user-control issues, such as crashing into other fixed objects (such as a gate, sign, post, barricade, railing, dumpster, or median), striking road curbs, and getting thrown into oncoming traffic.
  • Pedestrian accidents were associated with six fatalities; two e-bike riders were killed due to blunt impact caused when they struck pedestrians; and four pedestrians were struck by e-bikes and died from blunt impact/fall. 
  • The CPSC conducted in-depth studies of 11 incidents involving injuries. Of those, four involved a fire hazard. “The reports describe the fires started while the e-bikes were being charged. In one case, the user removed the battery from the e-bike, whthen suddenly caught fire. In another case, staff has insufficient information to determine whether the lithium battery was being charged or being removed from the e-bike.”
  • Brake issues were reported in four incidents resulting in injuries. Reports describe brakes malfunctioning in three of the cases; the fourth report said the owner of the e-bike needed to “tighten” the brakes repeatedly until, on the day of the incident, the brakes fail.
  • Other product-related issues,such as structural integrity/design defect issue, were reported in two incidents. “In one incident, the consumer was riding an e-bike when the pedal and crank assembly were separated from the bike frame, causing the person to fall. The other incident reported the pin in the handlebars prevented making a left turn, and the front wheel got stuck.” 

The report made no specific recommendations or conclusions. A press statement announcing the report’s publication cautioned that “In light of the spike in injuries, CPSC reminds consumers to use caution and safety with these devices.” It urged consumers to wear bicycle helmets and to expect to be unseen by drivers and pedestrians. 

The press statement also used the occasion to note that Oct. 9-15 is Fire Prevention Week and shared tips on living with lithium-ion batteries.

Fatalities by product type and hazard type

Topics associated with this article: Electric bike

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