Rise in E-Scooter Accidents Nationwide Prompt Large Scale Study

Police in Santa Monica are searching for the driver in a hit-and-run that killed a man riding an electric scooter.

With the emergence of e-scooters has come a slew of injuries and even deaths.

Santa Monica police said since e-scooters arrived in the city in 2017, this is the first death involving one. They're hoping someone will come forward with information that track down the driver who hit and killed a man Friday night and drove away from the scene.

Gary Benson has lived in his Santa Monica neighborhood for 27 years. He got home Friday night shortly after a man on a scooter was hit around 8:30 p.m. in the 2700 block of Third Street, a residential area blocks away from the beach and south of the Third Street Promenade.

He saw the commotion where paramedics were treating the 41-year-old victim for significant head and body trauma.

"I didn't know really that it was as bad. When I got over to him it was quite obvious he was gone," Benson said.

Investigators said the victim was riding a personally owned e-scooter when he fell off, and on to the roadway. That's where he was hit by a light-colored sedan. The driver then got out of the car and spoke to a witness, asking someone to call 911, before getting back in his car and driving off.

This was not the first scooter-related death in Southern California. A 53-year-old man died when he crashed a rented scooter into a tree in downtown San Diego last week.

There have been so many scooter-related injuries and deaths nationwide, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has launched the first-ever large scale study.

So far, research shows most injuries involved riders who were not wearing helmets at the time.

In California, most aren't required to. A new law that went into effect this year eliminated a helmet requirement for e-scooter riders over the age of 18.

Detectives described the driver as a 30- to 40-year-old white man about 6 feet, 2 inches tall with a shaved head or short hair. He was wearing prescription glasses and appeared to have a medium build, police said.

Anyone with information can call investigator Scott Pace at 310-458-8954 or the Santa Monica Police Department at 310-458-8495.

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