Selfie Stick Accidents are a Real Threat

by Doug Zanes | Last Updated: August 10, 2016

Selfie Stick Accidents are a Real Threat

What could be the common denominator in an electrocution, car accident, shooting and slip and fall accident? Surprisingly enough, selfie stick accidents. At Zanes Law we see all kinds of tragic accidents, and these can be some of the worst.

Selfie stick accidents are more common than many people realize. This long pole is meant to help people take better images of themselves by extending the reach and breadth of what can fit in the frame. But when people use selfie sticks to try to capture the perfect picture, they put themselves in harm’s way.

Selfie Stick Accidents vs. Shark Attacks

By September of last year, more people had died in a selfie stick accident than in the jaws of a shark. Although both types of accidents are quite rare, it goes to show that selfie stick accidents aren’t a foreign concept. They’re happening more often than many people realize.

The culprit? A lack of focus.


When people take selfies, they’re more focused on the phone instead of what’s happening around them. Case in point: Check out some of these examples of selfie stick related injuries and deaths:

  • A woman was electrocuted when grabbing hold of a high-voltage cable while trying to stabilize herself enough to take a selfie on top of a train.
  • A driver filmed himself getting into a car accident while using a selfie stick behind the wheel on a gator hunt.
  • A man shot himself in the head while trying to take a selfie of the new gun he bought pointed at his head.
  • In April of this year, a 16-year old tried to take a selfie on a rock fountain at a zoo in India when he slipped and fell into the water.
  • A man was hospitalized for five days after trying to take a selfie with a rattlesnake in San Diego (although that easily could’ve happened here in Arizona too).


There was a hoax news story about an “angry snowboarder” who impaled himself using a GoPole (a deluxe selfie stick) while skiing. Although it turned out to be a fake, the idea wasn’t hard to sell. Many people believed it because selfie stick accidents are so common.

Want proof? Just take a look at this growing list on Wikipedia of selfie related injuries.

Did You Know that 40% of all selfie-related deaths happened in India? In fact, the city of Mumbai has imposed ‘no-selfie zones’ after so many deaths in India being linked to selfie taking.

2016-08-10_21-18-50Many countries and cities have taken steps to curb selfie casualties

  • The city of Mumbai has imposed ‘no-selfie zones’
  • New York has banned taking selfies with Tigers
  • In Colorado, parks and wildlife experts urged people to not take selfies with elk last fall after a number of incidents where the animals got frustrated.
  • Officials in Pamplona, Spain, have banned selfies during the Running of the Bulls festival.
  • Disney has banned all selfie-sticks on park grounds.

Yes, You Can Get the Perfect Picture Without Risking a Selfie Stick Accident

Although it seems farfetched, it is possible to get the perfect picture without risking injury or worse – death.

The government in Russia even published a guide detailing how not to die when taking selfies, which if you can read Russian is  detailed here –  safety selfie.

When taking a selfie, pay attention to your surroundings. Be sure you aren’t standing too close to the edge of a cliff or tall surface and always keep an eye on what’s happening around you.

Remember, when you take a picture with a selfie stick, you naturally lean back a little. This can easily cause you to lose your footing and fall. If you’re standing close to a high drop off or trying to play daredevil with something as dangerous as a rattlesnake or train, you’re at risk.

No picture is worth risking your own life. Stay safe by putting the selfie stick away – especially when you’re in potentially dangerous locations.


Image sources:

Doug Zanes: Founding Attorney Raised in Douglas, Arizona, and went to college at Arizona State University and graduated from law school at St. Mary’s University School of Law in Texas. Doug began practicing law in Phoenix Arizona in 1997.
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