In June, around 14 people a day were admitted to Oslo University Hospital (OUS) after being in an accident involving an electric scooter, according to the doctors at the hospital.
Doctors at the hospital have now urged the companies renting the scooters to step up and introduce a curfew and blood alcohol limit for those renting scooters.
“We probably do not have a single activity at the moment that is the cause of as many injuries as electric scooters,” Senior Doctor at OUS Henrik Siverts said at a press conference.
There have been 856 scooter accidents registered in Oslo in the first six months of this year, with almost half of those coming in June alone, according to figures from OUS’s accident and emergency department. While there are no exact figures, it is estimated that there are more than 10,000 rental scooters in Oslo.
A large proportion of those accidents happen during weekends at night, and half of those injured in accidents had been drinking alcohol.
Doctors from OUS said that the influx of accidents has put the hospital under a lot of strain and that the hospital has to have extra staff on weekends to deal with the large volume of scooter accidents. They also said that the easing of measures in Oslo during May and June contributed to the rise in accidents.
“We have had to up the numbers of staff on weekends, both doctors and nurses to take care of electric scooter accidents,” Siverts said.
Another doctor Tina Gaarder, said that although there have not been any fatalities in Oslo yet, many patients have suffered life-changing head injuries.
The hospital has suggested that the scooter companies introduce a blood alcohol limit and a curfew between 11 pm and 5 am to cut down on the number of accidents.
“We do not understand why the rental companies do not take responsibility or why the municipalities don’t introduce new rules,” Siverts said.
“We do not want to ban electric scooters; we want to ban drunk people from using them at night,” Gaarder added.
One of the companies that rents scooters, Voi, has said it agree’s that drunk people should not be allowed to use the scooters but argued that the responsibility lies with the authorities rather than with them.
“It is important that the police exercises more control and that the government clarifies the regulations by introducing a blood alcohol limit. Voi has been asking for this for almost two years,” Øystein Sundelin, spokesperson for Voi, told state broadcaster NRK.
Transport minister Knut Arild Hareide told NRK that the government was working to introduce regulations on electric scooters in Norway.
“We are working to introduce regulations. We are working on getting a blood alcohol limit in place. This is an area (electric scooters) where more regulation is needed,” he said.