Electric scooters: the need for vigilance

Electric scooters: the need for vigilance

17 July 2024

Montreal, July 17, 2024 – It has been a year since Quebec launched a pilot project authorizing e-scooters and other motorized personal mobility devices such as gyroscopic vehicles on the road. In the last three months, the Montreal Children’s Hospital (MCH) Trauma Centre has already treated seven patients with e-scooter-related injuries.

With the rising popularity of these devices, more injuries could be expected. This is why the MCH Trauma Centre issues this important alert.

“Over the past five years, approximately half of all injuries from e-scooters seen at the MCH Trauma Centre were in youth under the age of 14,” underlines Debbie Friedman, Trauma Director, Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program Director and Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Pediatric Surgery at McGill University. Some of the injuries sustained include traumatic brain injuries, assorted fractures, lacerations and sprains, she reports.

Debbie Friedman, Trauma Director

Some recommendations

The current regulations in Quebec are as follows:

  • Mandatory helmet
  • Maximum speed of 25 km/h
  • Maximum power of 500W
  • Maximum device weight of 36 kg
  • Brakes on each wheel
  • Hand brakes when the device has handlebars
  • Minimum diameter of wheels of 190 mm (7.5 inches)
  • Lights and reflectors in the front and back
  • Riders must ride like cyclists, on bike paths or on the side of the road, adhering to the road rules
  • Minimum age of 14
  • No riding on roads with speed limits above 50 km/h
  • No riding on sidewalks
  • No passengers
  • No use of earphones or cellular phones
  • No impaired riding (alcohol or drugs)
  • No riding on a bike path or a public path where there are signs indicating that it is not allowed

The MCH Trauma Centre has reflected on additional recommendations that can further enhance the safety of the population.

  • Quebec’s minimum age for riding e-scooters (14 years old) is currently below all other jurisdictions in Canada where there is a minimum age requirement.
  • Most of Canada and much of the United States requires that riders be at least 16 years of age.
  • Many jurisdictions have opted for 20 km/h as the maximum speed limit instead of 25 in Quebec.
  • Research has also shown that many of the injuries on e-scooters are related to road conditions.

Everyone has a responsibility

“Legislation is useful if there is adequate enforcement, but will not prevent all injuries. If using an e-scooter, it is important to know the risks involved, be aware of the road rules, know where e-scooters are permitted and make sure to wear a properly fitted helmet, with a tightly closed strap,” reminds Liane Fransblow, Trauma Coordinator of the MCH Injury Prevention Program.

Liane Fransblow, Trauma Coordinator
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