UK: Large proportion of e-scooter injuries go unreported

  • January 16, 2024

ETSC’s UK member PACTS has published a study investigating the extent of under-recording of injury collisions involving e-scooters. By analysing data from two months in late 2021 PACTS looked at 300 casualties recorded by hospitals across the UK, police records and data from the rental trials to identify matches between the different datasets.

The study found that:

  • Fewer than 10% of casualties with any level of injury from a collision involving an e-scooter presenting to emergency departments were recorded in the official data;
  • Only around a quarter of those most seriously injured in collisions involving e-scooters were recorded by both the police and hospitals.

Privately owned e-scooters are not legal on UK roads, but shared schemes are in operation as part of an ongoing trial.  

Knowing how many people are injured in road traffic collisions is important. It means that, for any form of transport, the risk of harm to the driver or rider and the risk of harm to other road users can be better understood. The official data for all road traffic casualties, regardless of type of mobility, are based on police records. It has long been recognised and accepted that when comparing the official data with the number of people presenting at hospital with an injury from a road traffic collision, there are discrepancies.  Underreporting of injuries involving pedestrians and cyclists has long been a recognised issue. 

Although collisions resulting in injury should be reported to the police, capturing data from collisions with illegally ridden private e-scooters may be especially difficult in the UK. That should not be the case for the 23,000 rental e-scooters in the Government-approved trials.

PACTS is calling on the UK government to:

  1. Improve the means of recording e-scooter casualties using the rental e-scooter schemes by updating guidance to operators and local authorities so data collection more closely aligns with recording systems the police use; and,
  2. Increase the opportunities for casualty data to be collected by issuing clear information to the public about the obligations of reporting road traffic collisions to the police, including those involving e-scooters on public roads and public places.