The importance of e-scooters as a means of transport is increasing – and so is their share in accident statistics. In Germany, a total of 8,260 accidents with personal injury involving e-scooters were recorded by the police in 2022. Eleven people were killed and more than 1,200 were seriously injured. The head is particularly at risk in e-scooter accidents. This is the first result of a research project with DEKRA Accident Research and two universities.
Simulation model developed on the basis of DEKRA crash test
Head impact on the ground in almost every case – often severe
Further studies on the effect of helmets to be conducted this year
A simulation model was developed in the joint project with researchers from the Université Gustave Eiffel in Marseille (France) and the École de technologie supérieure in Montréal (Canada). “The project focused on validating this model on the basis of a DEKRA crash test”, explains Andreas Schäuble, a biomechanics expert at DEKRA Accident Research. “In the process, an e-scooter hit a curb – a common accident scenario in reality. It's not for nothing that solo accidents without an accident opponent account for more than a third of all e-scooter accidents in the statistics.”
The simulation examined more than 160 individual crash scenarios that differed in initial speed, angle of impact with the curb, and the size of the person on the e-scooter, among other factors. The goal was to learn more about impact kinematics – what happens to the human body during and after an impact. “Based on this, the probability of injury can then be quantified”, explains the DEKRA expert.
The first result of the research: in falls such as those in the scenarios studied, the head is particularly at risk – in almost all cases there was an impact of the head on the ground with the risk of concussion. Ninety percent of the cases showed a risk of severe to very severe head injuries. At the same time, the impact speeds were within the range of testing specifications for bicycle helmets. “First of all, this suggests that a common bicycle helmet could provide effective protection for the head and either prevent or mitigate the injuries in the vast majority of scenarios studied”, Andreas Schäuble said.
This is the starting point for further research. The three institutions involved have conducted another series of crash tests to investigate the protective effect of bicycle helmets. The evaluations are currently ongoing and are to be published before the end of the year.