The number of people injured in accidents involving scooters, bicycles and skateboards transported by INEM almost tripled in four years.
“Accidents involving bicycles, scooters and skateboards have been increasing, particularly in large urban centres”, highlighted Luís Meira, president of the National Institute of Medical Emergencies (INEM).
Noting that it is difficult to obtain reliable data on the accident rate of the so-called soft mobility, Luís Meira specified that one in three injured people is serious.
INEM recorded 6,280 injuries with scooters, bicycles and skateboards in 2022, the previous year it had transported 3,251, while in 2020 – a year marked by restrictions on circulation due to the pandemic – there were 2,642 injured and in 2019 there were 2,265.
Compared to 2021, injuries from accidents transported by INEM increased by 93% in 2022.
Of the 6,280 injured transported by INEM last year, 4,254 were cyclists, 4,254 scooter users and 335 skateboarders.
Regarding scooter users, accidents increased by 78% last year compared to 2021, when 946 were recorded, falling again in 2020 (367), while in 2019 INEM recorded 577 injuries.
Regarding cyclists, the National Institute of Medical Emergency recorded 4,254 accidents in 2022, falling to 3,004 in 2021, to 1,970 in 2020 and 1,510 in 2019.
According to INEM, most accidents involving soft mobility happened in the summer months, namely in July and August, and the municipalities of Lisbon, Porto, Vila Nova de Gaia, Cascais and Coimbra are those with the highest number of disasters.
The president of INEM was also concerned about the increasing use of bicycles and scooters in delivery services and argued that it is necessary to impose rules, “more severe” regulation and “tighter” supervision.
Also present at the seminar, the director of the integrated responsibility center for orthopedic traumatology at the Centro Hospitalar Universitário de Lisboa Central, João Fernandes, announced that this unit will sign, in the first week of February, a protocol with the ANSR for the sharing of data and so that there is more information about accidents and injuries involving scooters.
Much higher numbers in reality
The doctor, who runs the only hospital that receives this type of injured in the southern region, Hospital de São José, said that more information is needed.
With this protocol, the accident data involving scooters will probably be five times more, he warned, taking into account the current problem that these injured people are, namely due to the serious and complex injuries that affect various organs, for not wearing a helmet, being foreigners and not having insurance.
The doctor explained that these wounded are “an economic and social burden” for the State, they spend more than a month in hospitals, undergo several surgeries and occupy beds in intensive care.
"These wounded are occupying beds that the National Health Service was not counting on", he said, stressing that many arrive at the hospital drunk.
There is no mention of the number of pedestrians injured. Surely this is very important as many pedestrians would suffer severe injuries if hit by a speeding bike or scooter. It would help if riders would consider pedestrians and give some polite warning before they wizz past unsuspecting walkers.
By Joanne Tyers from Algarve on 20 Jan 2023, 09:34