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What happens when a child suffers an impact from an electric scooter?

¿Qué ocurre cuando un niño sufre un atropello por parte de un patinete eléctrico?

15/03/2021

Although regulations in many countries prohibit personal mobility devices from driving on the sidewalk, there are still many users who ignore this prohibition. As a result, pedestrians are often forced to share their space with personal mobility vehicles. A study and crash test carried out by Fundación MAPFRE has verified the personal injuries a pedestrian can be suffer, especially children, when run over by an electric scooter. The pedestrian is obviously the one who suffers the most serious personal injuries, as he or she absorbs most of the impact. 

Personal mobility vehicles have countless advantages: they pollute less, avoid traffic jams, facilitate urban mobility, are cheaper than cars, require less maintenance. However, they must be used with precaution, responsibility and always following the rules.

Pedestrians should not have to share their travel space. Remember, these are vulnerable users who in the event of a collision are the most affected. The increasing use of personal mobility vehicles has come sooner than expected and many countries have not yet legislated on the matter. In countries such as Spain, the circulation of personal mobility vehicles on sidewalks or pedestrian areas has been banned. Furthermore, they cannot exceed 25 km/h. 

We also need to consider the child's vulnerability. They are shorter and, therefore, will be less visible to other users. As a result, the chances of being run over by one of these vehicles increase, especially when riding alone. 

Fundación MAPFRE, in collaboration with CESVIMAP, have undertaken the study Crash-tests with electric scooters risks associated to their charging process: recommendations for safe use', where they have tested the consequences of a pedestrian, in this case a child, being hit by a scooter driven by an adult. 

A side impact was simulated with a 90º angle of incidence of the PMV against the pedestrian when crossing a road. The girl weighs 14 kg and is 119 cm tall, while the scooter driver weighs 66 kg and is 165 cm tall. The electric scooter weighs 12.5 kg. The impact takes places at a speed of 25 km/h, which is the maximum speed allowed. 

The consequences are serious knee, thorax and head injuries, which usually impact first violently against the steering column of the scooter and then against the ground. It also affects the shoulders, where the mass of the driver and the scooter itself falls at the moment of impact against the floor. 

It should be noted that the driver hardly suffers any injuries, as he/she lands on the body of the pedestrian that is hit. 

These two videos show the crash test and a crash simulation:

VIDEO CRASH TEST

COLLISION SIMULATION VIDEO

As we can see in the crash test, the PMV wheel holds the pedestrian and at the same time the steering column impacts the knee which could break it. The head tilts towards the handlebars, which impacts violently. 

The crash-test shows a blow that could cause serious internal injuries as the impact is directly against the parietal bone and part of the right cheekbone. This is due to the fact that the pedestrian has no head protection.

The test also shows that, after the impact to the head, the pedestrian falls quickly hitting the shoulder area as he/she impacts the ground. The pelvis also receives several blows.  Elbows, wrists and hands are also be affected, as they are used as a defense mechanism. These areas could also be affected as the pedestrian is dragged after the impact.

No spinal injury occurs, although the area most affected could be the cervical area in the event of whiplash. 

In short, it is important that the circulation areas for personal mobility vehicles are clearly indicated and that they do not share areas with pedestrians. As previously mentioned, the consequences of a collision can be serious. 

When there are personal mobility vehicles near us, it is important to be extra careful, especially with children making sure they do not get in the way of bicycles and scooters. 

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