By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4)– Since e-scooters hit the streets of Denver, the mode of transportation has been at the center of controversy. First for permitting concerns in the city and then for where exactly to ride the devices due to vehicle classification.

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Another issue– just how dangerous the scooters can be.

“It was a very difficult time. I didn’t know if Henry was going to live or not at that point,” said Jeff Nelson.

Jeff Nelson (credit: CBS)

Nelson’s husband, Henry Bromelkamp, was involved in a scooter accident on March 10. Jeff and Henry live in Minneapolis but were visiting Denver at the time.

Henry was going to meet a friend for lunch near the Denver Art Museum when he fell and suffered a skull fracture. He was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury.

Henry was rushed to Denver Health Medical Center where he underwent two surgeries. He was transferred by air ambulance to Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul, Minn. for continued acute care.

(credit: Jeff Nelson)

On April 24, he was admitted to Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, for a three week program of intensive “kick-start” physical, occupational, and speech therapies.

On May 15, Henry was transferred to Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute in Golden Valley Minnesota for inpatient rehabilitation. He will be there for two to three months and continues with three to four hours of physical, occupational, and speech therapies each day.

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Henry still has great difficulty communicating. He can start a sentence with a few words but then it jumbles. His right arm still has no movement; his right leg has shown some small signs of purposeful movement.

“They should at least provide a helmet for those that want to wear one,” said Jeff.

In some cases, the scooter companies do provide helmets, but it’s not so simple.

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The e-scooter company BIRD will send riders a helmet only if they pay for shipping. “Helmet required” is posted on the scooters, but that depends on local laws. In Colorado, there are no laws requiring helmets.

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Lyft makes helmets available for pickup two days a week in Denver during certain hours. A sticker on those scooters reads, “Always wear a helmet.”

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LIME scooters read “Helmet is required” but that also depends on the laws. LIME doesn’t provide helmets but is giving away 250,000 of them as part of a global campaign.

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The vast majority of e-scooter riders don’t wear helmets. There is no law mandating helmets in Colorado.

One rider, Ben Dunham, told CBS4 that he doesn’t like the idea of using shared helmets but feels they are needed while riding.

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“If I was going to use it more often, I should bring my own helmet, to be honest,” said Dunham.

Rep. Alex Valdez, a Democrat representing Denver, sponsored the state’s e-scooter law. He feels helmets are needed.

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“I think for most of us, riding anything motorized we would wear a helmet, but making it law has been very difficult in the state,” said Valdez.

Henry’s GoFundMe page states the following about Henry: “He was the inspiration for and cofounded an organization that has built 6,000 classrooms in Africa. He has been central to the international giving of the Rotary Club of Minneapolis and has fostered relations with so many other clubs in other states.

“He is a regional director for CARE “an organization that works in 94 countries around the world to support over 1,000 poverty-fighting development and humanitarian-aid projects.” He volunteers at St. Stephens Homeless Shelter and has sponsored educations for many of those they have met in Africa. Henry arranged and largely paid for Henry Solomon’s high school education in Malawi and for him to come to Minnesota, where he attended MCTC for two years, and also financially assisted Mwaona Nyrongo’s (another Malawian) graduate level education in various southern African countries. There are also many others he has helped.
All of these are truly just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Henry’s global giving impact.”

LINKS: Henry Bromelkamp GoFundMe | Henry Bromelkamp CaringBridge

Rick Sallinger