The arrival of trendy Bird and Lime electric scooters hasn’t tripped panic alarms for the emergency medical services in Kansas City, according to a new report from the city.
A manual review of nearly 100,000 EMS records logged between July and Oct. 31 shows only 19 accidents involving the scooters, the Kansas City Fire Department reported. Bird landed in the city in early July with Lime just weeks behind.
Most of the injuries reported included abrasions and pain in limbs, the city said. Four records reflected probable fractures or dislocations. Three involved motor vehicles but the majority resulted from riders losing their balance and falling.
City officials have routinely taken to social media to encourage riders to stay off sidewalks and wear protective head gear while on the devices.
The information was compiled in response to public information requests for accident information related to the motorized scooters that quickly became popular modes of transportation in some KCMO areas, the city said in a press release.
Kansas City has interim operating agreements with both Bird and Lime, companies that rent electric scooters and are defined by the city as “Dockless Shared Active Transportation Companies.” The interim agreement allows companies to do business in KCMO while city staffers develop a pilot program. Data from both companies will help decide potential long-term policy and ordinance changes.
None of the injuries described in the report were life-threatening, with only one case resulting in someone being transported to the hospital as an emergency disposition. Eleven others were taken to hospitals for evaluation and treatment, while five others refused treatment or transportation to hospitals, according to the city. Two calls were cancelled by the caller.
Specifics regarding times, locations or details of individual cases are considered protected health information and are not subject to the state’s Sunshine Law.
Emergency calls involving motorized scooters are not routinely separated from other pedestrian incidents. However, since multiple requests for this information were submitted, KCFD opted to manually review 96,850 calls received by its Communications Center during the four-month interval between July and October, the city said.
The manual review of such a large volume of records is time consuming and diverts staff resources from other duties. Since this request goes beyond the simple release of information already part of established records and reports, the cost for similar requests in the future will likely be passed along to the requester, the city said.