You probably noticed the scooters last summer. But you know what you didn't see? Helmets.
Although current Oregon law says that helmet use is required for e-scooter operation, a report from the Portland Bureau of Transportation says that during the city's first pilot program, staffers observed 90 percent of riders didn't wear them.
One state lawmaker wants to abolish the law that requires helmets.
A bill proposed to the Oregon legislature by Rep. Sheri Schouten (D-Beaverton) on Wednesday would lower the "age under which a person is required to wear protective headgear while operating a motor assisted scooter" to 16.
KGW first reported on the legislation.
PBOT's current e-scooter rules list 16 as the minimum age required to operate the vehicles.
Schouten, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, told KGW that the proposed law change is an attempt to "harmonize the laws covering scooter helmets with the laws covering bike helmets." Bike helmets are legally required in Oregon for any rider under the age of 16—but no one else.
Last summer, according to PBOT, Portland saw 176 reported emergency room visits related to scooter crashes. In at least 13 percent of the reports, the rider was not wearing a helmet. And 30 percent—or 1,754—of all e-scooter complaints logged were regarding users not wearing helmets.
According to PBOT's report, Bird, Lime and Skip, the three scooter companies operating in Portland, handed out or mailed 2,292 free helmets to Portlanders in 2018.
Spokespeople for the companies could not immediately be reached for comment on the proposed legislation.
E-scooters will return to Portland this spring for a second year-long pilot program. A start date has not yet been announced.