CDC to Study Scooter Accidents

People ride Lime and Bird scooters along the strand in Santa Monica, Calif.

People ride Lime and Bird scooters along the strand in Santa Monica, Calif. Richard Vogel/AP

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Scooters have become a public health issue.

If you live in an urban area you've likely seen them...slowly spreading across neighborhoods, eventually infecting every block and street corner: e-scooters.

These devices let users zip around town quickly, but they also expose people to more accidents. And now the scooter phenomenon has grown large enough that the Centers for Disease Control has sent special researchers to Austin, Texas to study it.

The researchers, working with the Austin Transportation Department and Austin Public Health, will examine data from a 60-day period, from Sept. 5 to Nov. 4, where the city documented 37 emergency calls and 68 injuries related to scooters. Interviews begin next week, according to the Austin American-Statesmen.

Ultimately, the city hopes the epidemiologists will spot patterns that will be used to determine new local rules around scooter use. And because this is the first CDC epidemiology study of e-scooters in the U.S., it might affect the way other cities decide to handle this particular mode of transportation. 

CDC isn't the only government agency to take a good, hard look at e-scooters. The Pentagon recently decided to ban them after seven of them were abandoned at the Pentagon's September 11 memorial.