Bird scooter crashes causing an uptick in ER visits

Bird scooter crashes causing an uptick in ER visits

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Birds are the newest way to get around the Bluff City. Not the airborne kind, but the scooter kind.

Now, doctors are seeing an increase in injuries likely because of the scooters.

Bird scooters landed in Memphis in June. Since then the scooters can be found on nearly every corner in Midtown and Downtown.

"Fifteen miles an hour doesn't sound that fast until you bounce your head off something," Methodist University Hospital medical Director in Emergency Department Dr. Jeff Harris said.

Harris said it's tricky to track exactly how many Bird scooter accidents they've treated over the past several weeks.

"I've seen several injuries from the scooters," Harris said. "There's all ranges. A lot [of the injuries] are just cuts and bruises from falling. Most significantly head injuries from people not wearing a helmet."

Bird rules require all riders to wear a helmet when on the scooters, but not many people are abiding by that rule.

As Birds flock to other cities across the country, the company is ramping up its safety rhetoric. Last week, Bird created a Global Safety Advisory Board.

Bird says the board will focus on increasing the safety of people riding slow-speed electric scooters in a car-centric world and the importance of sharing the road.

"Safety is our top priority at 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 40,000 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.

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