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KC hospitals seeing uptick in injuries related to Bird scooters

Posted: 6:14 PM, Sep 10, 2018
Updated: 2018-09-10 23:23:01Z

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With more of these electric scooters coming to Kansas City, there’s bound to be accidents resulting in injuries. Hospitals in the area are seeing an uptick.

On Monday, Kayla Kosman and Travis Ratliff rode bird scooters for the second time since the company launched their service earlier this summer. 

“I live in the River Market area and I just saw them pop up everywhere so we got to check that out,” Kosman said.

While these Kosman and Ratliff follow the rules of the road, a majority don’t.

“I just use the bike routes and I really haven’t had a problem staying off the sidewalk,” Ratliff said.

The pair admits they don’t use helmets while riding the Bird scooters.

“I didn’t even wear one as a kid on a bike so I just kind of take my risk and have fun,” Kosman said.

Which can come at a cost. In Nashville, two women were seriously hurt when a car struck them while on the scooters, neither woman was wearing a helmet.

“We’re seeing a lot more fractures from the scooters,” said Dr. Stefanie Shustek, an emergency medicine physician at Belton Regional Medical Center.

Locally, Dr. Shustek told 41 Action News they’ve treated about a dozen bird-related cases within the HCA Midwest Health System.

“Some are doing tricks with the scooters and falling off and falling on their wrists and breaking their wrists or breaking an ankle,” Dr. Shustek said.

If you’re going top speed and hit something, it’s not the fall that will do the most harm but the landing. 

“Where the brain get shaken up—knocked back and forth—the same thing can happen to your internal organs, get knocked back and forth and you might not see an injury initially but it will or can present later,” Dr. Shustek said.

A Bird spokesperson provided a statement to 41 Action News:

“Safety [bird.co] is a top priority for Bird, and we are committed to partnering with all cities to ensure that the community, and its visitors, safely embrace our affordable, environmentally friendly transportation option. We strive to improve and enhance the well-being of our riders and communities through concrete action, including: restricting the maximum speed of the vehicles, requiring riders to upload a driver’s license and confirm they are 18 or older, providing an in-app tutorial on how to ride a Bird and how to park it, and posting clear safety instructions on each Bird. Bird was also the first in the industry to offer free helmets to its riders. To date, Bird has distributed more than 50,000 free helmets to riders. Additionally, Bird recently formed the Global Safety Advisory Board, which will create, advise, and implement global programs, campaigns, and products to improve the safety of those riding Birds and other e-scooters. 

We strongly recommend reporting any incidents that Bird scooters are involved in, as we have a support team dedicated to safety that is available around the clock to address questions and reports we receive. We provide a number of ways for people to reach us including by email (Hello@bird.co), our in-app messaging feature, and by phone. We strive to respond to all inquiries in a timely fashion and are continually striving for an immediate response time.”

“A lot of drivers are not aware that these scooters are coming and won’t see them in periphery or directly in sight definitely stay aware,” Dr. Shustek said.

Now Lime, Bird’s competition, is coming to Kansas City and will also be offering helmets. According to the Lime app if you have $10 or more in your balance, it’s free.