It felt like grains of salt floating around Earl Wilkinson's mouth. "In fact, they were teeth remnants"—the result of the 52-year-old's face-plant during an electric scooter crash. Wilkinson ended up in the emergency room with a broken arm in what BuzzFeed describes as a fairly frequent occurrence. With e-scooter sharing startups Bird and Lime arriving in cities across the country before regulations are in place, "we are seeing daily injuries from users of the motorized scooters," says an ER doctor at UCLA Medical Center. A doctor at a San Francisco hospital likewise describes a low estimate of five to 10 scooter injuries a week, per Cleveland.com, which notes the nation's first reported death on an electric kick scooter came Saturday when a 21-year-old rider was hit by a car in Cleveland.
Cars, potholes, and pedestrians tend to get in the way of the scooters ripping around at 15mph. But there are also concerns about functionality. Given a race to take over the e-scooter market, Entrepreneur reports "there is a high probability that companies are cutting corners," and Bird admits its scooters "may malfunction, even if the Vehicle is properly maintained and that such malfunction may cause injury." "I think there's blood on the hands of every city that allows them to operate knowing how many riders and pedestrians are being injured," a personal injury attorney tells BuzzFeed, noting a broken leg and foot are among her clients' injuries. At CNN, a doctor argues lawsuits from such riders are needed to regulate the industry operating in a "guerrilla fashion," as cities race to keep up. (Read more scooters stories.)