Two people have died and suffered 42 more serious injuries from collisions involving e-scooters since the start of 2020.
The figures released by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) come as work continues on long-awaited legislation to regulate e-scooter use amid the growing popularity of the mode of transport in recent years.
The RSA said the data is provisional and is based on incidents that were reported to the Gardaí and recorded on its Pulse computer system.
The information was contained in a response to a parliamentary question from Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy.
Separately, figures provided to The Irish Times by the gardaí show 535 “traffic incidents” involving e-scooters in the first nine months of 2021; and of these, 136 involved a collision.
Doctors at three Dublin hospitals — Connolly; the Mater and Cappagh orthopedic hospital — set out the kinds of injuries suffered by e-scooter users in two separate studies published by the Irish Medical Journal last year.
The Connolly hospital study analyzed data from 22 patients with e-scooter-related injuries who were identified between October 2019 and November 2020.
Some 68 per cent of the patients suffered bone fractures with 36 per cent requiring surgery; 60 percent of them were not wearing a helmet when the crash occurred.
The documented orthopedic injuries were described as “complex” and the doctors said their research “may provide support for calls to address the safety concerns surrounding these vehicles, including the enforcement of rules regarding helmets and the introduction of speed limits”.
The Mater and Cappagh hospital study reviewed the records of 15 patients who presented with “significant injuries” between July 2020 and January 2021.
Injuries included extremity fractures and dislocations, chest, facial, and head injuries.
The study noted: “Shockingly, despite the relatively high speeds the majority of the riders were traveling at, only four patients were using a helmet while using their e-scooter (36 percent).”
It concluded that e-scooter-related incidents can result in severe injuries and steps should be taken to protect users. “This may take the form of basic mandatory training and PPE [Personal Protective Equipment] use.”
Last week The Irish Times reported that under Government plans e-scooters and electric bikes will be exempt from registration, tax or insurance if they are not able to travel at speeds above 25km/h.
The long-awaited Road Traffic and Roads Bill will legislate for e-bikes and e-scooters.
Minister of State at the Department of Transport Hildegarde Naughton told the Dáil that e-scooters will now be reclassified as “powered personal transporters”.
Up to now, they would be subject to vehicle registration, tax and insurance. However, this technicality has not been enforced.
Technical and safety standards will be set down for them, she said.
“Only vehicles which are type approved can be registered and accordingly it is not intended that powered personal transporters will require registration,” she said.