Richard Senescall has always been a ‘hobbyist’ – turning his passion for model cars and aeroplanes into his vocation by working part-time at a hobby shop in retirement.
Richard Senescall: I thought I'd get get modern and relive my youth. So I got my e-scooter to commute to work and save a bit of fuel and have some fun on the way and it's a lovely ride from my place into the shop.
On the day of the incident, I was just riding along, going uphill having a nice casual ride and my feet disappeared from under me and I slapped into the ground, very, very hard. Hit my head, hit my shoulder, hit my back. There was no blood to speak of, only a slight little rash on my arm. There was no other impact. So I thought that I got away with it.
Investigations and scans and x-rays and things revealed that I broke my back. I broke my shoulder and I had ten breaks in seven ribs. I stayed in hospital for 10 days, then at home for two and a half months sitting upright in a chair propped up by pillows because I couldn't move.
I'm about three or four months since I got out of the chair and I'm more or less recovered now. More or less. 95 per cent. Yeah. [laughs]
The hospital referred my case to WorkCover. They worked very closely with with my employer and with me and the the lady that was assigned to me was absolutely wonderful. She herself is an e-scooter rider. So she understood what was going on in my mind and she worked with me to achieve the outcomes required. She was wonderful, very supportive, very understanding, very efficient.
Susan assisted to an amazing extent, just kept me mentally healthy as well as looked after my income needs, made sure the paperwork kept my income coming in, covered my medicals, filled in forms for me, made sure that all my costs were being processed efficiently and it was a major relief to get that out of the way without having to worry about it.
I've been a modeler all my life. So I wanted to get back into the hobby store and participate in that and get my life back on schedule again. So there was a lot of a lot of support and communication facilitated by WorkCover to make sure that I was mentally and physically willing and able to get back in there and that my employer was similarly willing and able to get me back in there and at the earliest possibility, which I think was around about the four or five month mark, I was back at work and I'm working again now to the same capacity that I was previously.
I see a lot of people riding scooters without helmets and if I had not had a helmet on, I would be dead. So wear the safety gear, ride slowly. Enjoy the scooter. Don't race the scooter. Just enjoy it, just look at the trees. Look at the environment around you, be observant of the environment, enjoy it and relax on the scooter. It's not a speed machine. It's a device for low speed entertainment.
Perhaps it was this passion for nostalgia and transport that inspired Richard, a retired economist, to start riding an e-scooter on his commute to and from work.
“I thought I’d get modern and relive my youth, so I got an e-scooter to commute to work on, save a bit of fuel,” Richard said.
However, it all went terribly wrong one day in November 2021, when Richard was riding to work, and as he put it, “my feet disappeared from under me” and he came off the e-scooter, slapping hard into the ground.
While he initially thought he’d gotten off unscathed, the reality of his injuries was far from it. Scans and x-rays revealed Richard had a broken back, a broken shoulder and suffered 10 breaks in seven ribs due to the impact of the fall.
Support during recovery
It was while Richard was recovering in hospital for 10 days that he was put in touch with WorkCover Queensland and his customer adviser, Susan.
In Queensland, WorkCover covers workers not only if they are injured at their normal workplace, but also if they’re injured while travelling between home and work.
Richard said it was a huge relief to have this support as he recovered, which would end up taking four months, most of it at home, and set his sights on getting back.
“Susan assisted to an amazing extent, just kept me mentally healthy, as well as looked after my income needs, made sure the paperwork kept my income coming, covered my medicals,” he said.
Susan also worked with Richard and his employer to help him get back to work once he felt physically and mentally ready to do so.
Staying safe while commuting
“I’ve been a modeller all my life, so I wanted to get back into the hobby store and get my life back on schedule again. At the earliest possibility, which I think was about the four- or five-month mark, I was back at work,” he said.
Richard has some sobering advice for people using e-scooters on their daily commute to work.
“I see a lot of people riding scooters without helmets, and if I had not had a helmet on, I would be dead,” Richard said.
“So, wear the safety gear, ride slowly, enjoy the scooter, don’t race the scooter. Be observant of the environment, enjoy it and relax on the scooter, it’s not a speed machine,” he said.