In the last couple of years, more than 20 Utahns lost their lives in bicycle-related accidents and more than 100 experienced serious injuries.

And in recent years, it's not just bicycles and pedestrians, but scooters and e-bikes are making people go faster and faster. Quite often, the riders of these electric vehicles are underaged, unlicensed and predominantly unhelmeted riders.

"This isn't new, but it's getting worse," said St. George Police Officer Tiffany Mitchell.

With summer approaching, Intermountain Health’s safety and trauma teams are reminding riders of the importance of wearing a helmet and staying safe when riding.

“Kids and adults can be seriously injured, sometimes fatally, if they fall while riding,” said D Millar, MD, Intermountain Health Utah Valley Hospital trauma medical director and surgeon. “A traumatic brain injury can be life altering and unfortunately, we don’t get to choose how severe of an injury an individual might sustain. The brain is not like a broken bone that we can fix, so we strongly advocate for preventing head injuries.”

Intermountain Health treated more than 2,700 bicycle-related injuries in its emergency departments in Utah and Idaho in 2022.

And what about those electric bikes and scooters?

The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), a nationally representative sample of about 100 hospital emergency departments throughout the U.S.

The researchers analyzed 1,038 NEISS cases of e-bike injuries and extrapolated that about 46,000 children and adults showed up in U.S. hospital emergency departments with injuries from the motorized bicycles between 2017 and 2022. The number reflected a 43-fold rise in hospitalizations during the period.

At the same time, e-bikes took off as a form of recreation and a way to commute. Imports of e-bicycles grew from 437,000 in 2020 to more than 1.1 million in 2022, they note.

Studies show that less than half of e-bike riders wear helmets and the number is even lower for electric scooters, and this coming as technology allows some of these vehicles to top 50-miles per hour.

So will helmets help?

"Bike helmets won't help much with as fast as some of these things are going," said SGPD Chief Kyle Whitehead.

Motorcycle helmets are too bulky and heavy and will never catch on with scooter and bike riders. Is there a better alternative? recommends ramping up the safety.

"If your e-bike is capable of higher speeds, an e-bike-specific helmet is a wise choice, whereas riders of lower-speed e-bikes may prefer an urban style, or even a road bike helmet to increase ventilation and comfort."

They give a few options in this article.

As far as e-scooters, authorities say a regular bike helmet should do (for now). But make sure it's the right one.

Intermountain Health trauma experts say a good-fitting helmet should:

  • Fit snugly on the head
  • Sit level on the head, back to front.

For an optimal fit, use this simple 2-2-2 rule:

  • Make sure there is a 2-finger gap between the top of the eyebrow and the front the helmet.
  • Use 2 fingers to make a v-shape, and place the v under the earlobe. This is where the straps should sit.
  • Turn the 2 fingers sideways and place them flat between the chin and the strap, and adjust the strap as needed.

“It’s important that every rider have a good fitting helmet and parents should help their child put it on before every ride, every time,” said Michelle Jamison, community health programs manager at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital. “And we’re not talking just when you’re bicycling. Helmets are important when riding scooters dirt bikes, ATVs, roller blades, skateboards, hoverboards, tricycles, and even balance bikes to help protect those heads.”

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SGPD Warns Residents Following Motorized Scooter Accidents in Southern Utah

Photo by Martin Katler on Unsplash/Canva
Photo by Martin Katler on Unsplash/Canva

Following two accidents involving high speed scooters and Sur-Ron bikes in Southern Utah last week, including one where two teens were seriously injured on the evening of April 19, The St. George Police Department posted a video to their Facebook page detailing how dangerous these scooters can be as they can reach speeds over 50 mph. 

Officer Mitchell and Sgt. Needles voiced their concern over these scooters, especially since there aren’t many streets within St. George that go over 50 mph.  

Sgt. Needles said, “Now what we’re starting to see is a trend in scooters that go upwards of 50 miles an hour. Two wheeled scooters where you’re standing on the deck going 50 miles an hour. Terrifying. We had a Sur-Ron crash last week where a gentleman cracked his head open and had to go to the hospital.” 

The two officers then moved on to the second crash which involved two teens who were reportedly driving down a street on a motorized scooter with no headlights while driving at 50 mph.  

The two teens collided with a vehicle and had to be airlifted to Primary Children’s Hospital in Northern Utah for treatment due to the severity of their injuries. 

Both Sgt. Needles and Officer Mitchell said the accident is still under investigation as more information is still being reviewed through accident reconstruction and witness testimony. 

Sgt. Needles stated how parents should be more careful about providing their children with such dangerous potential in the form of these scooters. 

Sgt. Needles said, “For you as a parent who’s given your teenagers these scooters, it will go that fast right? Do you trust them to drive your car? You don’t because they can’t judge distance and speed. Now if you were in a car and pulled up into a 25-mile street from a stop sign, would you be able to tell that a scooter is doing 50 mph at you? I guess the other question would be if you could determine that a car’s going that fast. Yeah, I tell you probably not.” 

According to the two officers, these scooters can go that fast despite state law restricting scooters from traveling above 15 mph.  

If you’re interested to learn more, please check out the full seven-minute video on the St. George Police Department Facebook page. 

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