Even if you don't get out much, chances are you've seen the latest transportation trend: those ubiquitous silver scooters made by companies like Razor. In fact, you may well have had the hair-raising experience of seeing a child--or a middle-aged man--barreling toward you on one, only narrowly avoiding collision moments later. Still, it might come as a surprise to learn just how dangerous these little foot-operated vehicles can be, especially if proper precautions are not taken. According to Tara Dortch of the University of Alabama's Think First Injury Prevention Program, scooter-related emergency room visits have increased by 700 percent since spring. "The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says that there have been more than 4,000 scooter-related injuries in August alone," she observes. "Riders need to protect themselves with the same gear worn by in-line skaters: a helmet that covers the brain stem, and knee and elbow pads." Dortch also notes that kids should "stay out of the street" and not ride at night.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Kate Wong is a senior editor for evolution and ecology at Scientific American.
Credit: Nick Higgins