Imperial College London: E-scooter simulations highlight head injury risk to riders from falls

Though more real-world accident data is needed to quantify risk on a larger

Our findings could add to the evidence governments need to make astute decisions on e-scooter safety.
Dr Mazdak Ghajari
Dyson School of Design Engineering
scale, the simulations provide early-stage evidence that could help sharpen safety regulations regarding speed limits, helmet and wheel design, and pothole management.

Lead author of the study Dr Mazdak Ghajari from Imperial’s Dyson School of Design Engineering said: “Our findings could add to the evidence governments need to make astute decisions on e-scooter safety, which we hope will reduce the likelihood of head, brain, and facial injuries.”

E-scooters are the fastest growing mode of micro-mobility and come with environmental benefits. However, there are serious concerns about injuries caused by e-scooter accidents, and countries around the world have differing views on appropriate speed limits and levels of head protection.

Around four per cent of e-scooter riders wear helmets, compared with 50 per cent of cyclists – and the relationship between e-scooter falls and their speed and design, road surface conditions like potholes, and wearing helmets, is poorly understood. Using privately owned e-scooters is banned on public roads and pavements in the UK, although several rental schemes are operating in various cities.

To address safety concerns for riders, Imperial researchers simulated 185 falls on three digital human body models that represented three different sizes: a 50kg weight, 1.5m tall female, a 76kg, 1.7m male, and a 101kg, 1.9m male. These represent the 5th percentile of adult women and 50th and 95th percentile of adult men respectively.

The researchers simulated the unhelmeted models riding an e-scooter with 10in wheels at five different speeds over 12 differently sized potholes.

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