A hospital press conference warning Portlanders to ride e-scooters safely took an odd turn Friday morning—because the featured speaker thinks people shouldn't ride scooters at all.
Adele Hughes Hromco, 50-year-old mother of four, spoke at the press conference about a scooter accident she had last year.
She was excited to try her first electric scooter ride at the end of last summer, calling it the "adult version of a kid's Razor scooter." When she hit a divot in the road and toppled over, her femur went through her tibia and she broke her leg in several places. She was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.
"In my situation, we were following all the rules," said Hughes Hromco. "I'm hoping that anyone who might see this and is thinking it might be great fun to ride a scooter, they might give it a second thought."
She thinks riding e-scooters should be banned as a form of alternative transportation. Hughes Hromco can walk for short distances at a slow shuffle but still struggles with pain and lack of mobility.
Hughes-Hromco says she is "really disappointed in the city of Portland" for not looking at the "larger picture of the safety of our citizens."
The Portland Bureau of Transportation says it's emphasizing safe riding, by providing sidewalk parking spaces for scooters and banning them from city parks. That was also the official message of the Providence Health and Services press conference Friday morning. Doctors urged the use of helmets.
Physical therapist Jamie Musgrave warned of the danger of concussions—which often go untreated because of a lack of immediate symptoms, but can have long term effects such as memory loss and depression. She said the best way to prevent concussions is to wear a helmet every time you ride a scooter.
"We do see some individuals here who come for months, and sometimes even a year, to address their concussion symptoms," said Musgraves. "Adolescents don't see it as the norm to wear a helmet. Also, if you want to maintain your hair."
A study done by UCLA researchers on scooter-related injuries found that 40 percent of the 249 injuries treated at several local hospitals in the Los Angeles area within a year-long span were head-related.
In 2018, Portland rolled out a 4-month long pilot program to test the viability of scooters as an alternative form of eco-friendly transportation. The second go-around will be a similar pilot program and will last a full year. The companies granted permits for the second round of the pilot program were chosen based on safety regulations and eco-friendliness.
PBOT estimates that as many as 15,000 e-scooters could be on the streets by next January.