Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Ever Wonder What It's Like to Be In a Scooter Accident? We Had a Physicist Break It Down (It's Not Pretty)

Posted By on Wed, Feb 13, 2019 at 2:53 PM

click to enlarge INSTAGRAM / PHOTOBRO1

You know it's starting to get bad if Thomas J. Henry Law is starting to sponsor articles about scooter injuries, trawling for clients.

"Our experienced San Antonio electric scooter accident lawyers are available 24/7, nights and weekends to hear your claim."

Scooters have been banned in the Pearl, New Braunfels, Fredericksburg and regulated to bike lanes in Olmos Park. Alamo Heights, Leon Valley and Kirby are beavering away at ordinances. On Valentine's Day, City Council passed tougher rules for scooter companies. No more wild rides between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., y'all.

Sixteen miles per hour, the top speed of an e-scooter, feels like nothing when in a car, so how can the scooter injuries be severe enough for a top injury law firm to start salivating?

Dennis Ugolini, chair of the physics department at Trinity University, broke down the math of various injury possibilities.

Sixteen miles per hour is 7.1 meters per second, roughly an average sprint speed.

"So if you want to know what the impact will feel like, run full speed and then slam into a wall," Ugolini said.

This is also equivalent to falling from a height of about 8.5 feet, probably not fatal, but also not especially ideal.

Basically, the kinetic energy scootering itself cannot kill you, as long as you manage to run cleanly into a wall, spread-eagle, like some sort of enthusiastic cartoon. If you hit a small concentrated area, like say a handlebar, that force gets concentrated and the similes get less fun.

"Like a big fat bullet," Ugolini said.

That's all sad and lame, though. Do you want to know how far you could be catapulted at top speed?

In Ugolini's hypothetical scooter launch, your front tire hits a rock, tipping the back end up, launching you at a 45 degree angle. You'd reach an altitude of 7.4 feet and travel 14 feet. You might have enough time in air to marvel at the vagaries of Newton's second law.

Enjoy it while you can, because math is not your friend. You're going to hit the ground going faster than you were traveling before.

As the physicist put it, "Hope you didn't need that skin."

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