In light of a fatal Segway accident that made national headlines, questions are being raised about the safety of the two-wheeled passenger scooters. The new owner of the Segway company reportedly lost control of the vehicle and veered off a cliff and into a river below near London. Dr. Mary Pat McKay, a professor of emergency medicine and public health, said in this article, “What we need is a system to look at this on a national basis, which we don’t have now. People are falling off Segways and they’re really getting hurt.”
When the professor looked back at patients admitted to George Washington University’s emergency room, she found that more people were being admitted for Segway injuries than pedestrians being hit by vehicles. About 20% of the people who are seen at the emergency room for Segway injuries are admitted to the hospital for further treatment.
The most common Segway personal injuries include head and face trauma, brain injuries and broken bones. Of the people treated at George Washington Hospital, seventy percent were visitors to the Washington D.C. area that were riding on the scooters as part of a guided tour. Many of them fell when they encountered an immobile object such as a bench or fire hydrant.
As a Seattle personal injury lawyer, I was surprised to hear the statistics on accidents involving Segways. But, now that I think about it, I can’t remember seeing anyone wearing a helmet while riding one. Sure there are helmet laws for motorcyclists, bicyclists and skateboarders, but why not Segway riders? Hopefully this safety issue will be addressed to help reduce the number of injuries.