Omaha doctors working emergency rooms raise red flag on electric scooters

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The injury numbers are in, but they only begin to tell of the concerns Omaha doctors have about electric-scooters.

The City of Omaha is halfway through a six-month trial period with the scooters, and there are calls for some legislation.

Nebraska Medicine told 6 News their emergency room is seeing about two scooter-related injuries each week, but it's not so much the number that has them concerned, it's more the nature of the injuries.

“The most common injury a lot of centers are seeing are extremity injuries, fractures and then the second most common would be head injuries,” said Dr. Emily Cantrell, a trauma doctor at Nebraska Medicine.

It’s primarily the head injuries that have doctors concerned.

“It is true the majority of these patients are not wearing helmets, so we're seeing a lot of head injuries,” said Dr. Cantrell.

A joint study between the CDC and Austin Public Health Department found almost half of all-electric scooter injuries are head injuries; 15 percent of those experience traumatic brain injuries.

According to Dr. Cantrel, it's likely going to take some more regulations to get people to put a helmet on.

“I think until we update some legislation regarding helmet laws and promoting safe scooter habits, that we'll continue to see a lot of head injuries related to these accidents,” said Dr. Cantrell.

And it's not just doctors worried about the safety of the scooters.

The majority of people 6 News spoke with said they almost never see riders wearing a helmet.

“People should be wearing helmets,” said Jocelyn Anderson. “We need to take more precautions, or else people are going to start getting hurt if we're not being careful."

Jeff Ankenbauer works in the Old Market. The scooters are not allowed in the area. but he says that doesn't stop people. When asked if he ever sees scooter riders with a helmet on, he was quick to answer.

“Never,” said Ankenbauer. “I don't mean to be safety-dad, but . . . I don't want to see someone split their head open on the brick out here."

The city's trial period with the scooters comes to an end in October. At that time council members will have to decide whether to keep the scooters around or move towards banning them, as other cities have begun doing.

Lime scooters say safety is paramount and that they are willing to work with cities on safety concerns.