Do we need more safety studies, laws for e-bikes? – Orange County Registry

As the popularity of electric bicycles continues to grow and injuries and accidents increase among users, a state legislature is proposing a bill that will explore ways to improve safety and reconsider the rules governing fast-moving transportation.

State Sen. Dave Min, D-Irvine, recently announced his legislation and said that aside from age restrictions and helmet requirements, there haven’t been any major changes in statewide safety standards as e-bikes have become commonplace, leaving local communities with limited options lets protect the safety of its residents.

“As the proud owner and rider of an electric scooter, I am aware of how practical e-bikes are and how important they will be in reducing CO2 emissions,” he said. “But the increasing popularity of e-bikes also creates new challenges that require us to rethink the rules in place to keep our roads safe.”

E-bikes are powered by electricity and can reach speeds of up to 32 km/h, in contrast to the rider of a conventional bicycle, who delivers all the power with his pedaling. And sometimes they’re driven by teenagers who have little or no knowledge of the rules of the road.

Data from Providence Mission Hospital shows a sharp increase in injuries over the past several years, and Dr. Tetsuya Takeuchi, his head of trauma medicine, said these injuries are going beyond the fractures common in traditional bicycle accidents, as more people sustain head and internal organ injuries at higher-velocity impacts.

In 2020, the hospital saw a “statistically significant” increase in e-bike accidents, prompting administrators to keep statistics on injuries.

Six pediatric e-bike injuries were reported in 2020, according to Mission Hospital statistics. Since the use of e-bikes was only just beginning to take off, statistics for adults were not yet collected.

In 2021, there were 113 injured e-bike riders who required medical attention in hospital. That year also saw two deaths, both adults, one with a helmet, the other without.

By the following year, the number of injuries had nearly doubled.

Last year, 222 patients sought help at Mission Hospital after e-bike injuries — 171 were male and 51 were female. More than half of the injuries involved children, 72 of whom were under the age of 14 and 31 between the ages of 15 and 17.

Five of the injuries were classified as critical, 67 as moderate and nine as serious, 141 as minor. An estimated 147 cases reported head or neck injuries.

Takeuchi said thankfully no deaths were reported at the mission hospital last year. Do we need more safety studies, laws for e-bikes? – Orange County Registry

Dais Johnston

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