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It’s official: Portland city council passes bike share plan 4-0

Posted by on September 23rd, 2015 at 11:56 am


Next summer.
(Graphic from PBOT presentation.)

After nearly a decade of talking and planning, city council finally approved a plan that will bring bike sharing to Portland streets by July of next year.

The contract (PDF) passed by a vote of 4-0 (Commissioner Dan Saltzman was absent). Three votes for the plan were all but guaranteed long before today’s meeting. Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioners Nick Fish and Steve Novick strongly backed the plan.

“Anyone who rents a bike share bike will be instructed that if you see a fork in the road, take it.”

— Commissioner Novick (in the style of Yogi Berra)

At council today Fritz declared her support of bike share, but not without bringing up several things she’s still concerned about. “While the policy case has been made, I remain very concerned in general about the helmet situation… Putting bicycles on the street without helmets, especially with tourists, is counter to Vision Zero,” she said.

Fritz also said she’s worried that “inexperienced” riders will create a “dangerous situation” if/when they ride on downtown’s sidewalks, light rail and streetcar tracks. She shared an anecdote about seeing someone crash on MAX tracks just after the new Orange Line opened.

“Yes, I know cars do it too,” she added, “but they have a bit more protection than a cyclist or pedestrian.” Fritz said she plans to work with PBOT on an educating users about sidewalk laws, safe riding practices, and helmet use.

The other members of council kept their comments short. With the passage this morning of baseball great Yogi Berra, Novick invoked several of his famous quotes. “Anyone who rents a bike share bike will be instructed,” Novick said, “That if you see a fork in the road, take it.”

Commissioner Fish said he can’t wait to be “one of the early adopters.”


Steve Hoyt-McBeth and Margi Bradway understandably happy.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Speaking of which, PBOT Bike Share project manager Steve Hoyt-McBeth said he expects the system to be on the ground by July 2016. A public process to help decide the location of stations and other issues will happen between January and March of next year.

For now, Hoyt-McBeth and his partner on the bike share project at PBOT, Active Transportation Division Manager Margi Bradway, will turn their attention to finding a corporate sponsor. The price to sponsor the system could range between $2-8 million depending on the nature of the contract.

“Now we’ve proven we have the city behind us. It’s go time.”
— Margi Bradway, PBOT Active Transportation Division manager

Reached outside the Portland Building after today’s vote, Bradway said having the full support of city council will make finding a sponsor much easier. “Now we’ve proven we have the city behind us. It’s go time.” Bradway added that bought (with her own money) a big cake for division staff to celebrate bike share’s passage.

The plan approved today has changed significantly since it first came to council back in 2012.

The bike share system approved today is 20 percent smaller but about 55 percent cheaper than the one the city originally planned.

The contract calls for the city to spend about $2 million to 600 bikes and 60 stations. The system will be operated by New York City-based Motivate (formerly Alta Bicycle Share) with software, hardware, and bikes developed by Social Bicycles. The “next generation” system will be different than bike sharing systems in big cities like New York City and Washington D.C. that rely on large kiosks where bikes must be docked after use. With Social Bicycles, currently in use in Phoenix, Santa Monica, Tampa, Orlando, Boise, and others, the docking software is on-board each bike and they can be locked up anywhere.

For casual riders and tourists, a ride on Portland bike share will cost $2.50 for up to 30 minutes. More regular users will be able to purchase 12-month contracts at $10 to $15 per month to get 90 minutes free per day. Month-to-month memberships will be more expensive. The exact price is yet to be determined.

No matter what happens next, this is a momentous day for biking in Portland. After years of delays and debates, bike share if finally coming. For real. And if the system works (and that’s a real if), Portland will go from laughingstock to leader for the patience, research, and process it took to get here.

Hoyt-McBeth and Bradway were over-the-moon with happiness after today’s vote.

“We’re going to have one of the most innovative systems in the country,” Hoyt-McBeth said, “It will be worth the wait.”

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Adam Herstein September 23, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    Can’t wait! The original home area is too small IMO, but hopefully it will be expanded shortly after launch.

    The city needs to stop pushing helmet usage. That will only deter more people from riding. Focus instead on making our streets safe to ride without helmets. Time to ramp up on the downtown cycle track network project!

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  • soren September 23, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    Would additional sponsor cash be used to expand the system? And if so, how much?

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  • John Lascurettes September 23, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    Fritz also said she’s worried that “inexperienced” riders will create a “dangerous situation” if/when they ride on downtown’s sidewalks

    Maybe this will finally force the situation that signage is needed to define a “no sidewalk riding” area rather than simply knowing the revised statutes. When 99.9% of the roads with sidewalks in this state allow for sidewalk riding, how do you expect people to know what the no-zone is for Portland and Salem? While I realize that ignorance of the law is no defense against violating the law, that statute should have required signage to be enforceable.

    Sidewalk zone for Portland:

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    • wsbob September 23, 2015 at 1:31 pm

      “…When 99.9% of the roads with sidewalks in this state allow for sidewalk riding, …” John Lascurettes

      Does any city or town in Oregon have a number of people using the sidewalk on foot, approaching that which Portland Downtown does?

      Check with NYC and use of bikes on sidewalks. That city has bike share. If bikes are allowed to be ridden on sidewalks there, and it’s working out for people walking, that may lend some strength to waiving the ordinance for Downtown Portland.

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      • John Lascurettes September 23, 2015 at 2:48 pm

        I’m not even suggesting waiving the ordinance, but providing a way for people to even know about it. Poll some people you know, even bike riders, and see how many of them can tell you where, specifically, you can or cannot ride on the sidewalk in Portland. My understanding is that Salem has a similar ordinance, but I have no idea if it’s well known where the no sidewalk zone is there too.

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      • wsbob September 24, 2015 at 12:14 am

        It’s good you’re not suggesting elimination of the city’s ordinance restricting people from riding bikes on Downtown sidewalks.

        Very likely, the bike share system will oblige people using the system to agree to various conditions for using the bikes. Information about restriction area boundaries the ordinance covers, could be easily included in the agreement users of the bike will be obliged to consent to.

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      • John Lascurettes September 24, 2015 at 10:09 am

        You mean the agreements that no one reads just so they can click through to “complete my purchase”? Those agreements?

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      • wsbob September 24, 2015 at 10:08 am

        John…it may be helpful for the city to look into how much and how widespread support is for the cities’ Downtown sidewalk bike free area. If upon review, it’s found that there isn’t a strong feeling that sidewalks in Downtown should continue to be maintained bike free, the city could rescind its ordinance.

        The city, if it doesn’t already know, should try figure out if there continues to be a strong feeling on the part of people in need of the sidewalk for walking, people in support of biking, business, and so on, that sidewalks in Downtown should continue to be kept bike free.

        If the feeling is still strong and widespread that Downtown sidewalks should continue to be bike free, businesses in Downtown may be willing to help out towards familiarizing the public with the Downtown bike free area boundaries by providing the information by way of simple letter sized posters printed out from the computer and set on counters or posted in windows. Many, many such signs could easily be posted across the city for little cost and little impact on the environment.

        What do Downtown businesses think about bike share? Do they think it will be good for business? Make no difference? Be detrimental? No doubt they feel safe sidewalks are good for business, and that they hope bike share will not diminish the safety of people using the sidewalks to walk to their doors.

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      • Matthew in PDX September 23, 2015 at 3:24 pm

        Bicycles are not permitted to be ridden on NYC sidewalks, unless you are under 12, and the NYPD rigorously enforce this.

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      • John Lascurettes September 23, 2015 at 5:15 pm

        Pretty easy to figure out what “all” of NYC means as opposed to “downtown” Portland.

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    • daisy September 23, 2015 at 3:06 pm

      This is a great point. When you go to an unfenced dog park, there are signs clearly delineating the off-leash areas from the no-dogs areas. Why don’t we have similar signs on busy bike routes that indicate the no-sidewalk zone for bikes?

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      • lop September 23, 2015 at 8:21 pm

        Would it really matter? Wherever I see walk your bike signs I see cyclists riding through ignoring them.

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    • Pliny September 23, 2015 at 5:20 pm

      It also doesn’t help when Police, Clean & Safe, and other private security are routinely seen riding on sidewalks downtown.

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      • lop September 23, 2015 at 7:55 pm

        They’re allowed to bike on the sidewalk.

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      • John Lascurettes September 24, 2015 at 10:11 am

        Yup. Specifically allowed in relation to fulfilling their duties – consider it the cell phone clause but bikes instead of phones.

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      • Pliny September 24, 2015 at 10:29 am

        Yes, but the lack of signage, in combination with visible riders leads to confusion.

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      • John Lascurettes September 24, 2015 at 12:23 pm


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      • wsbob September 25, 2015 at 12:33 am

        As I wrote earlier, word about the boundaries of the city’s ‘Downtown bike free area’ could easily passed around by way of lots of simple computer printed out signs with the info on them, posted in the windows of businesses and offices that support the policy.

        And yeah John, also on the user agreement accompanying rental of the bike…that nobody reads, because they just want to get a bike and go. But it could be there, and word would get around that is there. There could be low cost stickers, bookmarks and so on too.

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  • invisiblebikes September 23, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    Is Fritz rally that daft?

    1) Bicycle helmets have nothing to do with VisionZero!

    2) Bicycle helmets are not designed nor are they tested to protect the wearer during a collision in traffic with or from a car!
    bicycle helmets don’t even come close to DOT tested and approved helmets.

    Better road design, safer bike infrastructure, better quality education of drivers (and more of it) all equal VisionZero #victimblamming

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    • gutterbunnybikes September 23, 2015 at 2:41 pm

      This article is almost a year old, and clearly explains how dangerous bike share is:

      Let’s see, “accident” rate at just over 10 per million rides (as of 1 year ago). Likely less than that now since the demand for bike share in most markets has increased.

      In that last year -though I can’t say for sure, but I don’t remember any reports of bike share fatalities. So the fatality number is still 0 (or at worst 1 perhaps 2).

      I know some of you think I’m crazy when I say I don’t trust the V0 plan, but if anything explains my mistrust of it, Fritz just proved my point.

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      • lop September 23, 2015 at 8:02 pm

        Citibike has seen some injuries, but I don’t think there has been a single fatality. Since launch there have been about 37 million miles biked.

        To put that in perspective in 2013 per 100 million vehicle miles the fatality rate from driving (including pedestrians and cyclists killed by cars and trucks) is 1.11. Lower if you normalized for occupancy instead of looking at vehicle miles.

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    • scott September 23, 2015 at 3:02 pm

      Yes. She really is. I talked to her once and was shocked. The normal political maneuvering and avoidance of keywords to stay on message and convey talking points was not in play. She would just say words completely unrelated to the questions I asked. It was impromptu and I will never forgive myself for not having the foresight to record it. It was like talking to a horrible Billy Madison impersonator.

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      • Chris I September 23, 2015 at 3:43 pm

        How did she get elected? Who was she running against?

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    • Mark September 24, 2015 at 1:37 pm

      Yes, she has proven that. Will she be voted in again?

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  • John Lascurettes September 23, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    Another gem from Vera:

    Putting bicycles on the street without helmets, especially with tourists, is counter to Vision Zero,” she said.

    I think she fails to understand what Vision Zero really is. It’s not about putting safety responsibility on the ride of the bike – and in particular about what they wear. It’s about reducing vehicle conflict in the first place.

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    • John Lascurettes September 23, 2015 at 1:01 pm

      * “the rider of the bike” (sorry)

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    • 9watts September 23, 2015 at 1:20 pm

      It *would* be nice if Amanda Fritz (Vera?) brushed up a little on helmets and Vision Zero and cars and a few other pertinent matters.

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    • wsbob September 23, 2015 at 1:23 pm

      Doesn’t Vision Zero basically have to do with working to eliminate all traffic related deaths? That being the case, if wearing a bike helmet can help a person avoid a fatal injury head concussion possible in a collision while riding a bike share bike…it sure does seem an awfully lot like use of bike helmets while riding said bikes is very consistent with this objective of Vision Zero.

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      • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 23, 2015 at 2:49 pm


        you are right about VZ being about working to eliminate traffic deaths and injuries… But the helmet issue is much more complicated than Fritz and others make it out to be. Helmet use isn’t just about preventing injuries, it’s about traffic culture. I think that taking part in the safety arms race (by requiring or over-encouraging helmet use, hi-viz stuff, and other “safety” gadgets) leads to a culture where it’s easy to victim-blame and easier to ride and drive with less caution. The SUV craze was a perfect example of this. People kept buying bigger cars to keep themselves “safe” but they ended up contributing to street culture that was much more dangerous overall.

        So we are both right.

        Wearing helmets is a fine idea and educating people about their use is all well and good and should be a part of Vision Zero… However, let’s keep that education and scare-mongering in proper context and balance.

        Another thing worth mentioning here in reference to Fritz’s comments is that she does not ride a bicycle regularly in an urban environment so she does not have a very credible perspective on the topic.

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      • daisy September 23, 2015 at 3:08 pm

        Concerns about the streetcar and max tracks are a legitimate concern, though. Experienced riders go down regularly. This is an infrastructure problem, but not one that’s going to be solved before bike share is implemented.

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      • wsbob September 23, 2015 at 6:17 pm

        Infrastructure posing hazards to people biking, can’t and won’t get fixed soon, at least not in any time frame near what it takes for someone to put a bike helmet on their head to help prepare for riding a bike on the street.

        Even after people are on the same page, it can take years to introduce safety related improvements to street infrastructure. Use of bike helmets and other safety gear is ‘now’ type aids to personal safety, and are one’s that individuals have control over, rather than having to wait for the process of infrastructure improvement installation to take place.

        I don’t buy the claim made that Fritz considers reasons for people being advised to use bike helmets while riding, to be a simple issue. The commissioner seems to know the issues, and not just those associated with helmet use…well enough. Apparently isn’t though, willing to arbitrarily kowtow to this or that group just because they want something with little regard for others their desire acquiesced to, may have an ill effect.

        Start trying to work with this person, rather than against her, (as has been and seems again to be the case on the part of various people commenting here.) …and she may become a great ally towards helping improvement for biking in Portland.

        The insensitivity towards people in need of the availability of safe use of Downtown’s sidewalks, is terrible. People supporting ideas for better biking infrastructure downtown, and that want help with having that type infrastructure designed and built, had better be showing some support and respect for people dependent on the availability of Downtown sidewalks that are safe to walk upon.

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    • Adam Herstein September 23, 2015 at 3:15 pm

      Fritz is a nurse, so she is seeing this from the perspective of a heath practitioner and not an urban planner. Somebody needs to show her how safe infrastructure is far more effective than plastic hats.

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    • wsbob September 25, 2015 at 12:23 am

      “…It’s about reducing vehicle conflict in the first place.” John Lascurettes

      And given that bikes are ‘vehicles’, Commissioner Fritz is rightly bringing up questions about safety of the people that will be riding bike share bikes, and how their riding may affect the safety of people they may be riding near to.

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      • John Lascurettes September 25, 2015 at 4:58 pm

        Whether the renters in question wear helmets or not has nothing to do with their riding habits or knowledge. In dispute was Amanda saying that it was “counter to Vision Zero” to not wear helmets. No, not really.

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      • wsbob September 25, 2015 at 8:51 pm

        If Commissioner Fritz has said something on the order of ‘People not using bike helmets while riding in bikes in traffic is “counter to Vision Zero”, it would seem that she is spot on about the relevance of such bike helmet use to the main objective of Vision Zero.

        Bike helmets are able to be designed to be capable of absorbing a certain level of impact, regardless of the riding habits or knowledge of the person using a bike helmet. The impact protection bike helmets offer people riding bikes, isn’t conditional upon the individual persons’ riding habits, or their knowledge.

        People riding bikes and not taking advantage of widely recognized and accepted benefits of protective gear for that mode of travel, seems definitely counter to Vision Zero.

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  • Glenn September 23, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    page 78 – 99,750 bones for shipping..really…

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    • Spiffy September 23, 2015 at 1:58 pm

      $99,750 is a lot… but it’s probably expensive to ship those station kiosks… plus the 600 bikes…

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  • Evan Manvel September 23, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    The clear solution to sidewalk riding: make a street space that feels safe for inexperienced cyclists. People are being forced to choose between riding among huge cars, which isn’t very comfortable for many people, and riding on the sidewalk.

    That means separated bike lanes.

    I know the city’s working on their downtown plan, and hopefully Portland will get to a solution somewhat near Vancouver, BC’s amazing downtown bikeways (though have a few more than Vancouver).

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  • 9watts September 23, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    Will that cute flag on the basket in the picture disappear in exchange for the corporate sponsor’s logo?

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  • Random September 23, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    “The city needs to stop pushing helmet usage.”

    You really need to visit a brain injury clinic, or talk to any health care worker who deals with severe trauma cases.

    Brain injuries are terrible, and helmets help prevent them. Before motorcycle helmets were made mandatory, you heard the same drivel you hear now claiming that helmets didn’t prevent head injuries. Wasn’t true.

    “That will only deter more people from riding.”

    People without helmets **should** be deterred from riding.

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    • Spiffy September 23, 2015 at 2:02 pm

      invisiblebikes September 23, 2015 at 12:59 pm

      2) Bicycle helmets are not designed nor are they tested to protect the wearer during a collision in traffic with or from a car!
      bicycle helmets don’t even come close to DOT tested and approved helmets.

      I tend to agree that bicycle helmets are not effective enough in a collision with a motor vehicle… and if they start requiring DOT helmets then they went the wrong way towards safety…

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      • wsbob September 23, 2015 at 6:50 pm

        “…I tend to agree that bicycle helmets are not effective enough in a collision with a motor vehicle… …” Spiffy

        Bike helmets offer some protection from impact associated with collisions…likely from a subsequent fall, rather than from a direct impact with the vehicle, though the latter could be valid too. Obviously protection by wearing a bike helmet isn’t absolute.

        There’s likely to be a point of diminishing returns that would be associated with obliging the use of helmets of heavier or larger construction, if that’s what was necessary to achieve a greater level of protective capability; fewer people may be likely to wear such a bike helmet.

        To me, the current state of bike helmet design seems quite effective. Very few things are perfect, but good bike helmets are really marvelously designed…at least some fit me, they’re light, they flow air, offer some impact protection, they offer a mounting place for mirrors, go-pros… .

        To what extent the requirement in Oregon for people sixteen and under to wear bike helmets while riding will result in people of those ages wearing bike helmets while riding bike share, I’m curious about. Hard to expect that somebody riding bike share won’t fall for a variety of reasons, some of them bonking their heads, an event in which a bike helmet on the head could be very nice.

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    • gutterbunnybikes September 23, 2015 at 3:14 pm

      Ok, I will.

      In 2012 and 2013 (according to the study released a couple weeks ago by the JAMA) there were 2,468 bicycle related head injuries nationwide. Or roughly 1,234 for either year.

      Now lets look at how many other things cause head injuries?

      estimated 1.5 million traumatic brain injuries (oh yeah I forgot to mention that the 1,234 bicycle head injuries a year aren’t necessarily brain injuries).

      “The leading causes of TBI are falls, motor vehicle crashes, struck by or against events, and assaults, respectively”

      So if bicycle riders account for less that .000001% traumatic head injuries why is all the focus on bicycle riders using helmets? Considering the that motor vehicle crashes is #2 on the list of TBI, it’s pretty safe to assume that riding or driving in a motor vehicle during a collision is much more likely to cause a TBI than riding a bicycle.

      Why aren’t all these concerned health workers stepping up the political pressure for helmet use with motor vehicle use? Surely this would do more good and well being for the public than bicycle helmets.

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      • Random September 23, 2015 at 3:50 pm

        Curiously, the New York Times reports different statistics:

        “According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, cycling accidents played a role in about 86,000 of the 447,000 sports-related head injuries treated in emergency rooms in 2009. Football accounted for 47,000 of those head injuries, and baseball played a role in 38,394.”

        Not all of these are brain injuries, of course, but still…

        Another quote from the article:

        “For example, about 90 percent of bicyclists killed in the United States in 2009 were not wearing helmets.”

        The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in 2013 estimated that bike helmets reduce head injury risk by 85 percent.

        “Considering the that motor vehicle crashes is #2 on the list of TBI, it’s pretty safe to assume that riding or driving in a motor vehicle during a collision is much more likely to cause a TBI than riding a bicycle.”

        Considering that bike person-miles traveled in the United States are less than one-tenth of one percent of auto person-miles traveled, looking simply at total injuries, without adjusting for mileage, is ludicrous. Bikes are far more dangerous on a per-mile basis.

        “Why aren’t all these concerned health workers stepping up the political pressure for helmet use with motor vehicle use?”

        Because there wouldn’t be much incremental benefit provided over what is already provided by mandatory seat belts and air bags in automobiles. That’s not true of bike helmets, which provide a very substantial benefit over no helmet.

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      • gutterbunnybikes September 23, 2015 at 4:51 pm

        The 85% reduction study is 30 years old, and never been replicated.

        “Helmets reduce head injuries by 25–55%, but because of the increased risk in neck injuries, the combined reduction in head and neck injuries is only 2–26%”
        In fact no federal government agency should be using the 85% figure, both the CDC and NTSHA have concided that the figure is false and no longer publish that figure.

        Both the above cases thanks to and by (with cited sources) the WABA:

        Most riders (though not necessarily in Portland – entirely depends on what part of town you live in) don’t wear helmets which is why more riders get injured without helmets.

        No jurisdiction that has mandatory helmet laws has ever recorded a decrease in head injuries that even comes close to the reduction of ridership that results with the implementation of the law despite the fact that helmet use usually doubles after such laws. As a pretty typical example:

        And just because 90% of bicycle fatalities are helmetless doesn’t mean that the fatal injuries were to the head. 90%+ of bicycle fatalities are from automobile collisions, but automobile collisions only account for just over half the injuries. The two things in both cases are completely unrelated.

        And again, in reference to bike share specifically. With cities like NYC, DC, Boston (all traffic nightmares) the injury rate is 10 in 1 million. And not all of those are head injuries – if they coincide with the “Journal of the American Medical Association” as I cited in the first post, Sept 1,2015) where head injuries account for only 16%, then your rate is still 1.6 in 1 million of a head injury on a bike share bicycle.

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      • Rob September 23, 2015 at 6:01 pm

        Bicycling is the “sport” responsible for the most head injuries only if you dishonestly ignore the “sport” of walking.

        “Wait,” you say, “walking isn’t a sport!” Which illustrates the real point: Bicycling isn’t just a sport, any more than walking is. There are race walkers and ultra-hikers, but that’s a tiny percentage of people on two feet. Likewise, there are bike racers, but they’re a tiny percentage of cyclists.

        Almost all cyclists are cruising the neighborhood, cruising the bike path, touring country roads, riding the quietest streets they know. Almost none are competing. But there are so many on two wheels that the number of head injuries (NOT necessarily brain injuries!) seems large. So comparing injury counts of tens of millions cycling to the tiny number of people who play serious football is just dishonest.

        Until, that is, you compare with the number of head injuries that afflict walkers. Or compare the number of fatalities. Or compare the fatalities PER MILE TRAVELED. All are much, much worse for walkers than for cyclists. Look it up. And BTW the causes of fatalities are the same for bikers and walkers, with roughly half (NOT 75%, as sometimes claimed) due to brain injury.

        Head protection should be promoted just as much for pedestrians, or more, given the much higher injury count. It should be promoted for motorists too, since their super-high TBI count proves that seatbelts and air bags are not sufficient.

        Riding a bike has never caused a high risk of traumatic brain injury. And looking at long-term trends, helmets have not reduced the already tiny risk. It’s time to stop the helmet promotion scam.

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  • davemess September 23, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    Still think this pricing scheme is a bad idea. I just don’t see enough people wanting to spend that kind of money.
    If it’s already subsidized, why not go with a low initial price to drum up interest and ridership.

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  • JJJJ September 23, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    July? Its a mostly dockless system. Why arent they capable of launching in late Spring, rather than halfway through the casual riding season?

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 23, 2015 at 2:54 pm

      The launch date has something to do with whether or not they find a corporate sponsor. I think if they find a sponsor soon they could launch earlier than that. They are very motivated to find a sponsor BEFORE launching because the launch and the initial branding that comes with it is an extremely valuable piece of the sponsorship. They also want to take time to do a bit of public process before the launch and they will take their time to make sure the system is as bulletproof as possible before putting it on the street. We’ve waiting almost 10 years for this thing, they are not going to sweat a few extra months to make sure it’s right and they aren’t going to rush it just to coincide with a particular “riding season”.

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  • rick September 23, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    concerned about $treetcar tracks and bikes? Then remove them and add a bus line.

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    • Adam Herstein September 23, 2015 at 3:52 pm

      Concerned about the dangers of riding near cars? Remove the cars!

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  • invisiblebikes September 23, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    Hey Amanda Fritz (I know she won’t read this but…) Here is a wonderful quote directly from which is a testing facility for

    “Most of the cases where the helmet’s limits are exceeded involve crashes with cars. Every rider understands that it is very important to avoid being hit by a car.
    Obviously a helmet covers only your head, leaving the rest of your body unprotected.
    In sum, your helmet will do a good job of protecting you in a fall, but the limits can be exceeded. It should be clear that nothing about wearing a helmet affects the need to ride safely, or the need for safe riding facilities.”

    I especially like the last sentence… “the Need for safe riding facilities”

    clear and simple advice straight from the horses mouth!

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  • sarah angell September 23, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    Congratulations to Margi and Steve! Their many many months of hard work paid off! And so pleased to hear the City has chosen to go with a ‘dockless’ system.

    Now imagine this in tandem with the Next Big Thing: Riding by Bike Share all the way from the Springwater Corridor in outer SE to St. Johns in Far North Portland—by way of Segment 5 and the North Portland Willamette Greenway!

    Now THAT’s sexy.

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  • David September 23, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    I haven’t seen it mentioned all that often with regard to Portland’s bike share system, but the helmet distribution/collection system we’re using in Seattle has worked out remarkably well. It’s low-cost (orders of magnitude lower than a vending machine solution), light-weight, modular, and the loss rate has been surprisingly low. Helmets also provide a system with additional sponsorship real estate.

    Also, there are ways of providing helmets without “pushing” them on customers (though admittedly, helmets are mandatory here in Seattle). Think of it this way: there is some proportion of Portland’s population that won’t ride a bike without a helmet, and this is probably even more true for the tourists that make up a large share of a bike share system’s revenue. So by NOT providing a turn-key, easy-to-use helmet distribution/collection system, you’re effectively alienating that proportion of your potential customer base.

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    • Steve Hoyt-McBeth September 23, 2015 at 4:41 pm

      Glad to hear your impressions of Seattle’s helmet system, David. Our operator Motivate is the one that provides that service and we are exploring it with them for Portland.

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      • wsbob September 24, 2015 at 10:16 am

        Steve, or anyone else having the answer…got a question: will Motivate’s bike share bikes be equipped with a theft resistant front light? Oregon law requires that bikes ridden between dusk and dawn be equipped with a front light, and a rear reflector or tail light.

        Goes without saying, I suppose, that a reflector will be on the rear of the bike as required by Oregon law.

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    • wsbob September 23, 2015 at 6:28 pm

      David, thanks for that report. I paid some attention to issues associated with availing bike share users with bike helmets, but still have questions. As to the hygiene issue arising from community helmets, I observed one easy solution at a bike rodeo held by the police dept in my town of Beaverton next to Portland: people that didn’t have a helmet needed to be in the kids rodeo, were given one of those disposable hair nets like used in food service. People didn’t seem to mind wearing the nets at all.

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      • David September 24, 2015 at 10:15 am

        wsbob – I suppose hair nets is one way to do it! In the Seattle system (Pronto), every bike share station has 2 helmet bins: one bin for helmet pick-up and a second bin for drop-off of used helmets. When you’re done with your trip, you just drop off the helmet in the drop-off bin. The used helmets are then picked up by Pronto staff and brought back to Pronto headquarters, where they are cleaned, sanitized, and inspected, then wrapped in plastic and put back into circulation.

        When the helmet system first launched it was all on the honor system and there was some loss of helmets (though not NEARLY as much as we thought would happen, and a lot of that was probably because of confusion around free helmet giveaways; when Pronto launched, all annual members could get a free helmet to keep at various pick-up locations like REI, etc., but I think a lot of members probably just grabbed theirs from the distribution bins at the bike share stations.). Pronto has since added a PIN locking mechanism to the pick-up bins, so the loss rate is much lower than during the initial roll-out.

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      • wsbob September 25, 2015 at 12:16 am

        The helmet provision system you describe sounds very labor intensive, especially for Seattle where everyone riding is supposed to be using bike helmets.

        In Oregon, helmet provision may be less labor intensive given that only people 16 and under are legally required to use helmets. Since the bikes are adult bikes, that further screens out people that would be too small to safely ride the bikes.

        Although, despite the derision for bike helmet use that some people feel obliged to express, or enjoy expressing, lots of people like wearing helmets while riding. Once bike share is up and running, it’ll be interesting to see what percent of people riding, do want to be wearing a bike helmet while riding the bikes.

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  • Andy K September 23, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    Why are we focusing so much on sidewalk riders and plastic hats?
    Just be happy it’s coming!

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  • Dwaine Dibbly September 23, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    Originally (years ago when first proposed) it looked like it was going to be free for the first 30 minutes (that might have been with an annual membership). I’m not paying $2.50 for 30 minutes when I can walk and have a TriMet pass in my wallet.

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  • Gary B September 23, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    Jonathan: If I recall, the sponsorship money will go to Motivate, right? That’s a feature of this deal wherein Motivate will suffer any losses in the first 3 years, so a sponsorship would help them.

    Why then are city employees setting out to secure the sponsorship? That seems like a bad deal for taxpayers as well as Motivate, who has all the incentive (motivation?) to find a sponsor.

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) September 24, 2015 at 11:15 am

      As I understand it, Motivate will be dedicating sales time to finding the sponsor, but the sponsors will also want to talk to city staff about how it’ll all work, presumably. Portland’s unusually strict rules about ads in public space will come into play here.

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  • GlowBoy September 23, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    As a now-former Portlander who still visits regularly for business, I’m happy to see this finally get off the ground. I use the Minneapolis system regularly, and it’s fantastic. The pricing model is not dissimilar: there’s a monthly charge of $15 (or $65 per year – bearing in mind that the system is only available for 7 months of the year). Then you get the first hour for free, with each subsequent half-hour increments costing $3.

    As for the streetcar track issue, I’m sure some n00bs will crash, but I don’t expect mayhem. Portland’s share bikes won’t be too different from those elsewhere. Ours have nice beefy 2″ slicks. Cross tracks at a 10 degree angle in the rain and you might still go down, but these tires make it vastly less likely to crash than 25-35mm tires.

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  • Angel September 23, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    I know I’m not their target market, but I look forward to this program expanding to cover my interests.

    If I’m out for a bike ride in the city of Portland, the odds that the most I’ll bike is less than ninety minutes is low.

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  • Jim Lee September 24, 2015 at 9:41 am

    Let’s run the numbers…

    $2,000,000 for 600 bicycles = $3,333 per bicycle…

    So we get 600 really lousy machines loaded with fancy electronics and managed by overpaid bureaucrats…

    Plus $2.50 per 1/2 hour, the price of a TriMet ticket for a substantially longer time…

    Plus labor, trucks, traffic, pollution for “rebalancing” the “system”…

    Has anyone ever thought this through…

    Does anyone in this town actually understand bicycles and cycling…

    Cycling knee-jerk much!

    Lets just have Council buy Bromptons for 1,200 people.

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    • NC September 24, 2015 at 10:27 am

      What about the other Million people?

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    • wsbob September 25, 2015 at 12:03 am

      “…$2,000,000 for 600 bicycles = $3,333 per bicycle…

      So we get 600 really lousy machines loaded with fancy electronics …” Jim Lee

      What do you think is lousy about the bikes? They look o.k. to me. Don’t really want to refer to them as ‘pigs’, but they’re far from being racing bike light…and so what. As nutty as people can be, no doubt there will be people out for kicks, racing each other on them anyway. There will be some fun to be had from the bikes, regardless.

      The money isn’t supposed to be for just getting a bunch of high priced heavy cruisers, but for getting a ‘bike share system’. For the money Portland’s putting on the line, we get to have the fun of seeing how the system works out.

      Good chance a bunch of the city’s ‘fiscally prudent’ citizens have been going nuts scratching their heads at what they consider to be the inanity of the city spending good money on bikes that lots of people are never going to be able to ride…something like the new bridge not everyone can use ‘because people aren’t allowed to ride on it.’. Think of it as an experiment. One that at worst, the city may only be out a couple million bucks for.

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  • Erik September 24, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    The cost is really going to be $2.50 / half hour? Why isn’t it priced to allow for a full day’s access with time limits per rental like other cities? For regular users, is the 90-minute window a daily cap on usage too?

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    • Mark September 24, 2015 at 1:48 pm

      Denver found that commuters used the bikes from point to point for the most part. You can get a day pass and/or a monthly pass which allows daily use. In Chicago…as long as you return the bike every few hours…to a station, you don’t get overcharged.

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  • Mark September 24, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    Ahh, the anti-bike ordinance known as the “two/four legged only ordinance”. It is seriously out of date and needs to be updated. Instead of shoving people into the traffic stream where there aren’t bike lanes..and/ or bike lanes not patrolled…let’s look at this logically. Cops seem to have no problem riding on the sidewalk safely. Did they take a special class in how to ride slowly..or did they learn that when they were the age of 8?

    Simply change the ordinance to “a bike on a sidewalk shall yield to pedestrians at all time and give 3 feet when passing at walking speed” would suffice. This is what I do…and I even have a bell ($5.99 amazon). The bell works well…I often see riders with no bell or horn. Anyway, the ordinance shall read “If three feet is unavailable, rider shall walk bike until space is available”. Reasonable people follow laws and jackholes ignore laws all together making everyone a bike hater. Looking at you red light runner.

    To throw 600 shiny bikes on the street with no helmets and hypocritical bike cops waiting to crack some un-helmeted tourist heads…with sidewalk tickets…..seems wrong. But’s free money!

    Or better yet, all bike share bikes can ride on the sidewalk. Because…they sort of special.

    The rest of us….to the traffic stream with you!

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  • Phil Richman September 24, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    Where does Spinlister fit into all of this?

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