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Bike Sharing

Portland has been studying the prospect of a bike-sharing system for several years. We've covered it every step of the way. Browse our previous coverage below and click a headline to read the full story.

Five new bike ideas from other places that Oregon could steal

Monday, April 14th, 2014
Share the Road - North Plains
Time for Oregon to stop "Share the Road"? (This sign is on NW West Union in North Plains, a small city in Washington County.)
(Photo J. Maus/BikePortland)

Over the last week or so, a bunch of great ideas from other cities have been washing up on our digital shorelines. Let's take a look at a few.

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Alta Bicycle Share teams up with former PBSC tech provider

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

In a big move that will impact bike sharing in the United States and beyond, Portland-based Alta Bicycle Share has announced a new "strategic partnership" with 8D Technologies.

8D is the company that formerly worked closely with the Public Bicycle System Company (PBSC, a.k.a. Bixi), the Montreal based company that filed for bankruptcy late last month. Alta uses the PBSC platform in the many bike share systems they operate and manage around the country and some of those systems (in Boston and Washington D.C.) are operated with software developed by 8D Technologies.

But the relationship between 8D and PBSC soured when PBSC began to export their successful Bixi system to the U.S. while allegedly secretly developing their own software and cutting 8D out of the picture. In April 2012 8D sued PBSC for breach of contract. (more...)

University of Oregon prepares to launch bike share system

Monday, January 13th, 2014
Proposed bike share stations on the University
of Oregon campus are marked in red.
(Image: UO.)

With its bike parking spaces crammed and its long-term bike loan program booked solid, the University of Oregon is preparing to add a four-station bicycle sharing system on its Eugene campus.

The cities of Eugene and Bend, meanwhile, are considering municipal systems of their own.

"We really can't meet the demand for the bikes that we have on campus," said Briana Orr, a university staffer who manages UO's $30-per-term bike library, which has 100 bikes in its fleet. "We're trying to find a way to serve more students and still provide a really high-quality bike, and keep the costs low."

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The Oregonian Editorial Board on Portland's "risky bike share venture"

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

"Bike sharing isn’t essential, and a bike-sharing system with unexpected complications requiring city subsidies would undermine the public’s confidence in the city’s ability to set priorities and manage money."
— Oregonian Editorial Board, December 21st, 2013.

With a big announcement about the Portland Bike Share system likely to come this month, The Oregonian Editorial Board is making it clear where they stand. Portland's risky bike-share venture is the title of their editorial that ran on the front page of the opinion section on December 21st.

The piece reflects the opinion of the members of the O's editorial board: Mark Hester, Erik Lukens, Susan Nielsen, Len Reed and David Sarasohn. As our bike share system gets closer to reality, we'll be watching closely how the local media tries to frame the narrative around the project. After all, the project has all the components of a media freakout: the concept (at least on this scale) is unprecedented in Portland, bike share is usually misunderstood by people that haven't used it (just like cycling in general), it's an idea first championed by former Mayor Sam Adams, and it involves bicycling. (more...)

Bill would make bike-sharing benefits tax-deductible (updated)

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013
Bike share demo-9-8
Not considered public transit by the IRS. Yet.
(Photo by J.Maus/BikePortland)

U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer is cosponsoring a bill to officially recognize bike sharing as the newest category of public transit, at least in the eyes of the IRS.

Unfortunately, the bill is limited by a persistent oversight in tax policy that restricts its benefits to those who both live and work in areas that have bikesharing stations.

It's a new goal for the city transportation commissioner turned Congressman, who spent years pushing for the IRS's first bike commuting benefit. The $20-a-month deduction finally passed as part of the 2008 bank bailout (despite Blumenauer's "no" vote on that package).

(more...)

10 key details from Portland's bike share proposal and contract

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013
A rendering by Alta Bicycle Share of a future Portland
bike share station at downtown's Director Park.

As public bike share systems continue to become standard public services in cities around the country, we figured it was time to learn more about what's in store for Portland.
(more...)

Portlander designs low-cost bikeshare station for apartment buildings

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013
Kiel Johnson with his custom-built creation.
(Photo courtesy Kiel Johnson)

The price of bikesharing adds up fast when 10 bikes and a solar-powered parking dock cost $45,554. It'll take an estimated $3.4 million for Portland's forthcoming public system to get enough hardware to cover the central city with 75 docks.

But what if Portland had a private bikesharing system, too?

That's the thought that was keeping Southwest Portland resident (and noted local biking advocate) Kiel Johnson up at night. So he spent the last six months inventing one.

"Basically, I came up with this idea and couldn't sleep for a week because I kept on thinking about it," Johnson said. "So I was like, okay, I have to build this, or I'll never be able to sleep." (more...)

Six lessons for Portland from the League's new 'Women Bike' report

Thursday, August 8th, 2013
woman on a bike
Common, but not quite common enough.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Even in Portland, people who really ought to know better (links to FB) still claim now and then that biking is a thing for young dudes.

Still, in a town where only 31 percent of people on bikes tend to be female (it's about 25 percent nationally) we've got a long way to go until, as in Germany or the Netherlands, our biking population is evenly split by gender. Portland's failure to change this ratio for 10 years can be discouraging to people who think everyone deserves to feel welcome on a bike.

That's why there's a lot to celebrate in a new report by the League of American Bicyclists that rounds up dozens of statistics about women and bikes. Culled from industry reports, political polls and academic studies, a few of the report's figures are pretty surprising...

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"Mistakes" aside, city says Alta's labor issues won't affect Portland Bike Share

Thursday, July 11th, 2013
Behind the scenes at Capital Bikeshare-14-2
Mechanics at Capital Bikeshare
headquarters in Washington D.C.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Alta Bicycle Share Vice President Mia Birk acknowledged Wednesday that "we definitely make mistakes," but that her fast-growing company is learning from its possible violation of federal labor rules and taking steps to avoid future wage issues.

Meanwhile, Portland city lawyers say the "prevailing wage" law that Alta may have run afoul of in Washington, D.C., which requires government contractors to be paid at higher than market price, won't affect Portland's forthcoming bike share system because it applies only to direct contracts with the District of Columbia or federal government itself. (more...)

Guess what? NYC's bike share system is popular and working well

Friday, July 5th, 2013
What a difference a few weeks makes.

Five weeks in, New York City's new bike share system seems to be doing just fine.

Initially plagued with problems (and negative headlines), Citi Bike's main issue these days is keeping up with demand for the popular new mode of transit.

"After two weeks of using the program pretty much every day to get from Grand Central to the office in the morning (a block from Penn Station) and back in the evening, plus a few other trips here and there, I can't say how much I love this program," a man named Mike Cordelli wrote on Citi Bike's Facebook page Wednesday afternoon.

As we (and many other news outlets) wrote last month, Citi Bike, managed by Portland-based Alta Bicycle Share, had serious problems as it was getting off the ground. An estimated one in 10 docks were failing to accept or release bikes. Membership keys were delayed. Customer service lines were clogged. (more...)

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