Scoot Safe E-Scooter Campaign Reveals Injury Prevention Opportunities
By Emma Harrington, director of injury prevention and education at Shepherd Center
Scoot Safe is an innovative safety campaign designed to stem the electric scooter (e-scooter) injuries and fatalities occurring on our roadways. With generous funding from the Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety, Shepherd Center embarked on a targeted digital media campaign raising awareness about the risks e-scooter riders face and preventive measures they can implement to stay safe.
Through a pilot program, which included a three-month digital advertising and social media campaign, a virtual conference, direct mailings along the Atlanta Beltline and a dedicated website, we hoped to increase helmet use and decrease speed and intoxicated riding. Using Atlanta, Georgia, as our intervention group and Statesboro, Georgia, as our control group, we worked to determine if mass digital media messaging can affect behavioral change related to injury prevention and micromobility. In this case, micromobility is specific to the use of sharable, dockless electronic scooters.
We observed riders in Atlanta and Statesboro in high-traffic areas before and after the digital campaign measuring correct helmet use, excessive speed, age, gender, number of riders per e-scooter, if any conflict was observed (car, pedestrian, bike), rider location, and if the scooter rider fell or not. Our pre-observations took place in April 2021, and our post-observations took place in September 2021.
In total, we observed 496 riders in Atlanta and 108 in Statesboro before the campaign started. With our post-observations, ridership increased, and we saw 588 riders in Atlanta and 163 in Statesboro. Initial determinations provided by this observational study are the very low rate of helmet use among e-scooter users, across all sites, both genders, all age groups and all riding locations (sidewalk, road, beltline, bike lanes). This rate did not improve in the intervention group as a whole during post-observations but may have improved in some locations or zones while decreasing in others (the number of observations was too small to demonstrate statistically significant changes in specific locations).
In addition, wrong-way riding in the roadway is an issue for younger riders, and riding with two people per scooter is common despite scooter providers’ prohibitions. Finally, the use of protected bike lanes became apparent during this study. E-scooter riders are utilizing these lanes when available, especially the protected ones, suggesting that further investment in bike safety measures could help curb future e-scooter related injuries.
These observations point to obvious targets for future interventions and provide baseline data for comparison and subsequent studies. Visit scootsafega.com to learn more. You can access all the content from our virtual Scoot Safe webinar for free here.
Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neuromuscular conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 740 inpatients, nearly 280 day program patients and more than 7,100 outpatients each year in more than 46,000 visits.