As more electric scooters come to KC, doctors urge riders to use caution

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- As of Tuesday, there are another 250 electric scooters on the streets of Kansas City. The company Lime just signed an interim operating agreement with the city.

The Lime scooters join the hundreds of Bird scooters that already landed in KC during the last two months.

Lime rolled out 250 scooters Tuesday. Sam Sadle, Lime's director of strategic development, said the company will add 250 more this week. The company already has scooters in 90 cities across the United States.

Although they're an easy way to get around, doctors warn the scooters can be dangerous and urge riders to use caution.

"We've seen very few injuries, but we look forward to the opportunity to prove just how safe it is," Sadle said, "and really partner with the city to make sure that we're partnering and implementing a plan here in KC to have safe access."

Lime recommends that people wear helmets. They're even going to do helmet giveaways.

Doctors in the metro say they've already seen people with injuries from the electronic scooters.

FOX4 checked with health systems in the area about injuries from riding electric scooters. Saint Luke's Health System said they've seen a couple injuries so far, and HCA Midwest Health said they've treated about 20 scooter-related injuries.

"The worst injury we've seen are bleeds in the brain, inter-cranial hemorrhages," said Andrew Cussing, a doctor at HCA Midwest Health. "When someone falls off and isn't wearing their helmet and hits their head on the ground."

At the system's 10 hospitals and seven emergency rooms in the metro, doctors treated about 20 patients for electronic scooter related falls.

"We see a lot of wrist, elbow, knee pains," Cussing said. "Scrapes, bumps, bruises, broken wrists and a lot of sprains."

Kansas City Police said last week they responded to an EMS call for an injured scooter rider at 44th and Warwick. The rider started turning but hit a pothole filled with water. He fell and landed face first, like many of the riders Cussing treats.

"It is increasing quickly with he number of Bird scooters that are out there," Cussing said. "Not saying it's a bad thing. People just need to be careful with them."

FOX4 asked Lime and Bird what happens to their scooters in the winter when it's snowy and icy.

Lime said it has a winter weather plan and will determine if riders will be safe on a minute-to-minute basis. Bird told us it will adjust based on the weather. Some will "fly" south in harsh winters -- but they are working on making the "flock" rugged enough to handle all weather and safety conditions.

Bird gave FOX4 this statement when asked about safety:

"Safety is our top priority at Bird, and we are committed to partnering with all 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. Bird was also the first in the industry to offer free helmets to its riders. To date, Bird has distributed more than 50,000 free helmets to riders. 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."

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