Bad weather, bald tires: E-scooters stay on Portland streets

Multnomah County

A recent study found scooter-related head injuries have skyrocketed

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Wet weather and slick streets in Portland hasn’t been stopping people from hopping on e-scooters.

This is the first rainy season since the e-scooters were introduced as part of an extended pilot program earlier this year and transportation officials plan to pay close attention to how e-scooter companies and riders respond to inclement conditions.

City officials have opted to keep e-scooters running throughout the fall and winter and many riders plan to continue using them.

A Bird e-scooter with bald tires still in operation in Portland, October 18, 2019 (KOIN)

Vani Lozano of Portland said the decision is “good but it has its cons.”

Some of those cons include navigating streets made slick by fallen wet leaves. Lozano said she’s already fallen once while riding an e-scooter while trying to stop on a hill.

“When I did put my foot down and it didn’t stop, I just kind of fell on my back,” she said, laughing.

A recent study in the American Journal of Otolaryngology found scooter-related injuries to the head and face have tripled in the last decade.

“Everyone should wear a helmet when riding an e-scooter,” Lozano said.

Lime e-scooters with bald tires still in operation in Portland, October 18, 2019 (KOIN)

The Portland Bureau of Transportation said safety measures are especially important this time of year.

“Allow yourself extra stopping distance. Try to avoid — or at least use caution — around any metal surfaces,” said PBOT spokesperson Dylan Rivera.

Riders can certainly take safety precautions but they can’t change the condition of the equipment.

KOIN 6 News looked at several e-scooters parked in front of the KOIN Tower over the past two weeks. Investigative reporter Dan Tilkin took pictures of Lime scooters with what looked like bald tires on Oct. 4 and again on Oct. 9.

Lime responded, indicating their team had been “informed” and would look into it.

But it appeared as if one of the e-scooters in question was still there on Oct. 9, Oct. 11 and Oct. 14.

Lime e-scooters with bald tires still in operation in Portland, October 18, 2019 (KOIN)

Anyone who notices safety concerns like bald tires can reach out to the e-scooter companies. Contact information is listed on the PBOT website.

“The first point of contact for a scooter concern is going to be with the companies, especially about the devices themselves,” Rivera said.

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