INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- They may look like fun, but first responders report scooters landing dozens of people in emergency rooms. They're urging scooter riders to be cautious if they're going to utilize Indy's newest mode of transportation.
"These things are not safe," said Dr. Dan O'Donnell, the medical director for Indianapolis EMS and an emergency room physician.
O'Donnell said they're seeing things like broken wrists and collar bones, facial injuries and concussions.
IEMS reports since September it's made 56 transports in scooter-related incidents. So far in November, it's made 10. Those numbers don't include the number of people walking into the emergency room.
O'Donnell is reminding people to wear helmets.
"While I said there's not been many life-threatening injuries, that's only a matter of time, you know, serious head injuries can happen," he said.
Bird, one of the scooter companies downtown, said it encourages all riders to wear helmets and provides them for free.
A company spokesperson released this statement:
Bird is committed to partnering with cities to ensure that the community, and its visitors, safely embrace our affordable, environmentally friendly transportation option. We strive to improve and enhance the well-being of our riders and communities through concrete action, including: restricting the maximum speed of the vehicles, requiring riders to upload a driver’s license and confirm they are 18 or older, providing an in-app tutorial on how to ride a Bird and how to park it, and posting clear safety instructions on each Bird. Additionally, Bird recently formed the Global Safety Advisory Board, which will create, advise, and implement global programs, campaigns, and products to improve the safety of those riding Birds and other e-scooters.
We strongly encourage all riders to wear helmets. To help ensure all people have equal access to helmets, Bird provides them to riders for free; we have given away more than 50,000 free helmets.
"We have to have a better idea of where these things can go and where they fit into the whole traffic pattern," O'Donnell said.
A recent study by the City of Austin showed there were fewer scooter-related injuries in a set time period than injuries in bicycle, pedestrian, motorcycle or motor vehicle incidents. In Indianapolis, it may be a different story.
"I mean obviously we see bike injuries, but we've had on the order of two to three to four times more of these scooter accidents than bike accidents because I think bikers have a place for the most part, they know where to go," O'Donnell said.
Walking through downtown, it's easy to spot riders not wearing helmets. Scooter rider Albert Bracken admits he doesn't wear one during his commute from his parking spot to class downtown.
"Realistically I should listen to that because I'm not different from anyone else," Bracken said.
FOX59 also reached out to Lime, another company that rents out scooters in Indianapolis, but has not yet heard back.