A victim calls them little weapons.
An emergency room doctor describes it as disruptive technology.
They're talking about the electric scooters, and the growing industry of scooter-sharing start-ups like Lime and Bird that are popping up in cities around the country. Dockless scooter companies already operate in more than 100 cities in the U.S. and at least a half a dozen foreign countries.
"You get this feeling of nostalgia, like you're a kid again and nothing matters," said Pamela Tick, 26, who was seriously injured in a scooter accident in Austin, Texas.
But nostalgia has given way to today's reality.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has launched the first-ever study of electric scooter accidents at the request of Austin Public Health and the Austin Transportation Department.
"We want to identify the risk factors for those who get injured, how severe the injuries are and why they're getting hurt," said Jeff Taylor, manager of the Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit with Austin Public Health.
Taylor, who is overseeing the investigation, is working with three CDC epidemiologists to examine severe injuries that occurred in Austin from September to November 2018.
He said both agencies have completed collecting data and are currently in the process of summarizing various reports.
"There's a perception that scooter-related injuries occur at night. Well that's not true," Taylor said. "Our study will show they occur during all times of the day. People may also perceive there's typically a car involved. But our study finds most of the time the rider may hit a bump in the road or they simply lose their balance."
CNBC spoke with officials at trauma centers in Austin, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington D.C. All reported a rise in scooter-related injuries.
The University of San Diego Medical Center has been tracking severe injuries admitted to its trauma center since September 2017. Dr. Leslie Kobayashi, associate professor of surgery, said the center has admitted 42 patients for e-scooter related injuries in the past year.
The data reveals that 98 percent of patients were not wearing a helmet. Forty-eight percent had a blood alcohol level above the legal limit for intoxication and 52 percent tested for an illicit substance.
UCLA researchers examined data from the university's medical center in Santa Monica and Ronald Reagan Medical Center between September 2017 and August 2018.
The data shows 249 people were admitted to their emergency rooms with electric scooter injuries. The majority of the injuries were from falls.
Dell Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas has been tracking injuries on scooters since they were introduced to the Austin market in May 2018. They found 66 severe traumas including 19 head injuries, 38 orthopedic injuries and 13 facial injuries.
"We have 11 doctor shifts a day and most of the doctors tell me it's hard to go a whole shift without seeing at least one scooter injury," said Dr. Christopher Ziebell, emergency department medical director at DSMC-UT.
Pamela Tick was one of them.
Tick, a model and DJ, and her husband were visiting Austin in February when she landed in the emergency room.
After brunch, the couple decided to take electric scooters around to check out the city.
"Ryan was in front of me and every block or two he'd ask, 'You OK? You OK?' I was having a great time. There were no red flags."
Tick said she was going 10 to 15 miles per hour when she made a right turn and hit a pot hole.
"My front wheel got stuck in a really deep pot hole and couldn't make it out," Tick said. "The entire scooter and myself fell forward and smacked the concrete. When I woke up I tasted blood, my lip was split open and literally hanging above my teeth. I was bleeding really, really badly."
Tick was treated at UT with stitches and posted photos from her accident on Instagram.
"I shared my scars with the world and I was mesmerized by the amount of people who said they too had been involved in a scooter crash."
Tick said she was riding without a helmet in a Jump scooter, which is owned by Uber.