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.

Bikesharing deal could be high-tech key to a low-car city

by on November 25th, 2015 at 11:46 am

mobile girls
Open bike-share data and integrated payment systems can add up to something very big.
(Photo: M.Andersen)

The “single, supple mesh of mobility” that the government of Helsinki is hoping to use to “make car ownership pointless” by 2025 may be arising spontaneously and gradually in Portland.

For people reading between the lines, an announcement Tuesday from the North American Bike Share Association could lead to Portland becoming the first U.S. city where a single mobile app will be able to let you plan a trip and buy a ride from a bike share service, transit agency, carsharing company or ride-hailing service.


Take a sneak peek at OHSU’s new ‘Go By Bike Share’

by on October 13th, 2015 at 4:00 pm

iwo jima
OHSU Transportation Options Coordinator John Landolfe and Go By Bike owner Kiel Johnson hoist the second bike-share rack into place in the South Waterfront.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Pushing to grow its workforce without pouring precious cash into garage construction, Portland’s largest employer continues to roll out bike-transportation improvements.

Next week, Oregon Health and Science University plans to became the latest major company (following Nike and Intel) to introduce a private bike-sharing system for moving quickly around its campus.

“Basically we just copied what Nike does and made it blue,” said Kiel Johnson, owner of the Go By Bike shop and valet, of the 13-bike, two-station system. His team will operate it.


Oregonian video offers closer look at bike share hardware

by on September 24th, 2015 at 11:12 am

The Oregonian has a useful review today of the “fourth-generation” bikes lined up for the bike sharing system that’s set to launch in Portland by next July.


As city council weighs bike share agreement, three of five votes look certain

by on September 16th, 2015 at 12:53 pm

Portland City Council
Portland’s city council: Steve Novick, Amanda Fritz, Charlie Hales, Dan Saltzman, Nick Fish.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

A half-hour city council hearing Wednesday on Portland’s proposed bike sharing system raised some questions but, seemingly, few serious concerns.

With a formal vote lined up next week, Commissioners Steve Novick and Nick Fish, along with Mayor Charlie Hales, all spoke warmly about the proposal.

Commissioners Amanda Fritz and Dan Saltzman didn’t seem to be raising major objections, though both asked pointed questions: Fritz about safety and Saltzman about money. Saltzman in particular seemed upbeat about the plan. Neither offered a closing comment Wednesday, leaving themselves plenty of room to back away from the deal if they decide to.


Spinlister asks Portlanders where its bike share should go and what they’d pay

by on September 15th, 2015 at 10:29 am

spinlister zone
A possible initial service area for Spinlister, included in
its new web survey. The company added that it expects
the zone to grow.

The company planning to bring a private, free-floating bike sharing service to Portland is asking for input.

In a short web survey launched this month, Spinlister asks Portland residents how often they’d expect to rent bikes using the proposed Smart Bikes service, what they’d pay, how far they’d walk to reach the closest bike and what service area they’d like to see.

“We’re not doing this for fun or verification of a system already created to make them feel good,” Spinlister chief marketing officer Andrew Batey said in an email about the survey. “We’re building the platform to allow for variable business rules – which allows us to make fast and systemwide changes to various inputs (price, geo-fence, payment structures, support, etc.).”


What’s the point of bike share? This survey explains it well

by on September 10th, 2015 at 3:14 pm

Bike share demo-11-10
A bike share demo in Portland, 2011.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

In the last two days, we’ve reported in detail about the new bike-sharing system that Portland finally seems poised to secure next week.

All of these operational details have prompted a lot of discussion around a simple, fundamental question that everybody (including me, when I started reporting on bike sharing four years ago) tends to struggle with. What exactly is the point of bike sharing?

The charts below should help a lot.


As city preps for public bike share, it weighs rules for a private competitor

by on September 9th, 2015 at 5:37 pm

spinlister parking
Will the bikes keep circulating?
PBOT thinks it’s important that they do.
(Image: Screen grab from Spinlister video)

Fourth in our four-post series about bike sharing in Portland.

Portland’s prospects for a public bike share system are looking as good as they ever have. Three of the city’s five council members said Wednesday that they’re excited to back a bike share deal, and a staffer for a fourth told us the proposal “looks great so far.”

Meanwhile, a different launch still seems to be in the works: a completely private bike-sharing system, a new product scheduled to be tested here in Portland by the peer-to-peer bike rental firm Spinlister.


Four ways Portland’s new bike share plan could flop

by on September 9th, 2015 at 12:05 pm

It’s coming. Finally. But will it work?
(Renderings via City of Portland)

Third in a four-post series today about bike sharing in Portland.

Earlier today, we wrote about why Portland’s three-year bike share delay could accidentally make its system one of the smartest in the country.

Now, let’s look at the biggest ways the system could, if approved next week, totally fail.


Long-delayed Portland bike share rose from the dead. Here’s why that might make it better

by on September 9th, 2015 at 8:19 am

Bike share demo-9-8
A 2011 bike share demo in Portland. The city has scrapped its 2012 plan and is rebooting with a unique set of new ideas.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland unless noted)

Second in a four-post series today about bike sharing in Portland.

There’s a case to be made against Portland’s new bike share plan. But that’s coming in a few hours.

First, let’s consider a more interesting argument: the possibility that because of its three-year series of mishaps, Portland could wind up with a much better system than it would have without them.


Portland overhauls bike share plan, braces to launch with or without a sponsor

by on September 9th, 2015 at 5:00 am

Next week, Portland will consider a contract to put 600 “smart bikes” like this one (from Orlando’s Juice system) on the street by next July at no cost to the city.
(Photo: City of Orlando)

First in a four-post series today about bike sharing in Portland.

Nine years after being one of the first U.S. cities to float the concept, the City of Portland plans to announce today that it’s finally ready to launch a public bike sharing system.

The key to the plan, which would be required to launch by July 2016: the city is planning to skip a generation of bike-sharing technology and launch a system that uses “smart bikes” with built-in GPS and self-locking mechanisms. The revised system would be 20 percent smaller but about 55 percent cheaper than the one the city originally planned.