Is Biketown bike share for all? Or only the able-bodied?

Handcycle ride wth Ian Jaquiss

Hand-cycle riders like Ian Jaquiss won’t be able to use Portland’s bike share system.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland is launching a bike share program with 1,000 bikes. But what about people with who need to ride a hand-cycle or a recumbent or a trike due to a physical disability? Will they be able to use this new system?

That’s a question raised by city council candidate Chloe Eudaly just six weeks before Portland’s Nike-sponsored Biketown system is set to launch.

“While it can be expensive to accommodate people with disabilities, excluding them also comes at a great cost. It may also violate federal law.”
— Chloe Eudaly, candidate for Portland City Council

Eudaly, who happens to be running against incumbent City Commissioner (and head of the transportation bureau) Steve Novick, posted to her election campaign Facebook page on May 24th that while she’s excited about bike share she’s also, “disappointed to find out that the program excludes people with mobility challenges.”

“How is a 1,000 bike program without a single adapted bike equitable or inclusive?” she wrote. Eudaly questioned how the City of Portland could afford “limited edition wrap designs” but not pay for adaptive bikes to be part of the fleet. “People with disabilities also often have diminished opportunities for socializing, recreation, and exercise and poorer quality of life and health outcomes as a result,” she continued. “So, while it can be expensive to accommodate people with disabilities, excluding them also comes at a great cost. It may also violate federal law.”

Eudaly is referring to Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act which states that, “Public transportation authorities may not discriminate against people with disabilities in the provision of their services.”

We followed up with Eudaly, the City of Portland, a lawyer, bike share operators from other cities, the executive director of Disability Rights Oregon and others to learn more about this issue.

To Eudaly, it’s simple: “This is a matter of equity,” she wrote in an email to BikePortland. Here’s more from her email:

We have a whole office devoted to it now, which aims to recognize and remove “systemic barriers to fair and just distribution of resources, access and opportunity, starting with issues of race and disability.” Yet there was seemingly zero consideration given to making our Biketown program accessible to people with disabilities. I find this statement from the website particularly galling, “Biketown is a celebration of the Portland spirit: active, creative, inventive, and inclusive”, just not creative, inventive, or inclusive enough to include people with disabilities I guess.

There’s no mention of disabled persons access on the City’s bike share program website. There are several references to equity, but only as it pertains to ethnicity and economics. Bike share is absent from the available meeting minutes of the the City of Portland’s Commission on Disability (PCOD), a group that meets monthly specifically to advise the city on ADA-related issues. Suzanne Stahl, the current PCOD chair, commented on Eudaly’s Facebook post and said that Biketown “Must provide adaptable alternatives.” Stahl says the program also violates the federal Rehabilitation Act.

“It is a key question and we’re working toward an answer by talking to our peer cities and people in the disability community.”
— John Brady, PBOT

Portland-based Disability Rights Oregon is a nonprofit that offers legal assistance to people with disabilities. Their Executive Director Bob Joondeph said in an interview today, “It’s really unfortunate,” that the city doesn’t appear to have given any thought about this issue. “When the city gets involved in any type of public service, they have an obligation to make sure it’s accessible to people with disabilities.” Joondeph didn’t offer a legal perspective on the case and said so far no one has filed a formal complaint with his office; but he did say he’s experienced this problem with the City of Portland in the past. “We’ve run into this before where they launched something and it’s only at the very end where they say, ‘Oh yeah!'”.

Joondeph said this reminds him of when the city launched its first streetcar line without considering disabled persons in the station designs. “They didn’t think about it until the end.” When it comes to Eudaly’s criticisms of the bike share program, Joondeph said, “I think she’s got a point.”

We asked the Portland Bureau of Transportation if Biketown would be accessible to people with disabilities. Here’s the statement they gave us nine days later:

“The City is committed to seeing Biketown be successful for a wide range of Portlanders. We’ve been talking with our peers in other cities and are reaching out across the different communities of people with disabilities to listen and learn. Biketown will add to an already rich choice of transportation options.”

That didn’t answer our questions, so we had the following exchange:

So does this mean Biketown isn’t currently accessible to people with disabilities?

“I don’t think we can assume that given that there is a range of different types of disability,” replied PBOT Communication Director John Brady.

Was access to the bikes by disabled persons considered in the planning process?

“Yes, the topic of access and broader issues related to disability were part of the planning process,” Brady wrote in an email. “For example, in the station siting process, we have made sure that we comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.”

That’s about station locations not impeding with ADA access; but how about the actual use of the bikes and the system itself? Or, put another way: If someone with a physical disability that prevents them from riding a standard bicycle wants to use Biketown, what would they do?

“Right, the way you’ve rephrased it is a key question and we’re working toward an answer by talking to our peer cities and people in the disability community.”

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Dennis Steinman is an attorney with Kell, Alterman & Runstein L.L.P. in Portland and has over 20 years of experience in ADA law. He said no matter how you slice it, the City of Portland is required to make bike share accessible to people with disabilities. “Any public entity must make all of the services they offer accessible…. Any time Portland offers some form of new service, they have to do a self-evaluation as to how – if at all – it’s ADA compliant.”

According to Steinman there are four exceptions to the ADA law: If the accomodation leads to undue financial burden, undue administrative burden, if it would “fundamentally alter the nature of the program,” or if it would constitute a safety risk. In the case of Portland bike share, Steinman says none of those excuses would hold up in court. Financially, Steinman explained, cities are seen by the courts as having “endless pockets.” He’s never seen the administrative burden argument win, and he doesn’t think adding adaptive bikes into the fleet would “fundamentally” change the nature of the program or that there use would create a safety risk.

In my research of other bike share systems around the country I couldn’t find any major vendors that offer adaptive bikes or specific services for people that have disabilities. Capital Bikeshare in Washington D.C., one of the nation’s largest and most successful programs, mentions disabled access in their FAQ but simply points people to an email if they need “reasonable accomodation.” Capital Bikeshare says their bike share system is part of “part of a regional transporation system” that is ADA-compliant and therefore it’s legal under federal law.

Adaptive-Bike-Clinic-Flier-2016-2

Acting on a tip I contacted Dave Fotsch, the director of Boise Idaho’s bike share system “GreenBike”. Fotsch said they initially talked about making special accomodations for people with disabilities, but they didn’t in the end. “The range of disabilities is so wide and the possible solutions so narrow that we didn’t think we could do justice to any particular group,” he said.

GreenBike uses Social Bicycles, the same type of bicycles Portland’s system will use. Social Bicycles doesn’t offer any adaptive bicycles — highlighting a problem for cities who want the option to purchase them.

B-Cycle is the only national bike share equipment vendor to offer a non-standard bicycle for city fleets. Their tricycle has been used in several cities since it was introduced in 2013. One of them is Boulder, Colorado. Boulder B-Cycle Director James Waddell told us he considered having one in their fleet but it didn’t work out. “They were double the price, and the one we borrowed from Denver B-cycle to try proved to be slightly dangerous for even able bodied people to ride!”

Overall it seems like the issue of making bike share systems accessible to people who can’t ride a standard two-wheeled bicycle, is a new issue that deserves more attention.

Is there even a demand for adaptive bikes?

Adam Amundsen runs Different Spokes, a shop in Portland that specializes in adaptive bikes. “People with disabilities don’t always advocate for themselves if they feel like it’ll be a major hassle or expense,” he said today in an interview. Sort of like bike parking or bike lanes, the demand only shows up once the infrastructure is available. Amundsen said if different types of bikes were available, they’d definitely get ridden. He added that Portland is known for being an inclusive place where “people can be their true person in public” and that one of the greatest things about biking is that – with the right type of bike – nearly anyone can do it.

To prove it, Amundsen is helping put on an Adaptive Bike Clinic this Sunday in partnership with the City of Portland’s Parks Bureau, Adaptive Sports NW, Shriner’s Hospital, Adventures Without Limits and other organizations.

As for how to make Biketown more accessible to people with disabilities, the bikes that will be at Sunday’s clinic are examples of ones that could potentially be integrated into the system. The City of Portland Parks Bureau has had a senior cycling program for years that uses tricycles. Along with local experts like Amundsen, Portland has other adaptive bike resources like Adaptive Sports Northwest and the popular Bike First! program run by the Northwest Down Syndrome Association.

This isn’t the first time the City of Portland has faced a learning curve when it comes to making new types of mobility options accessible to its disabled citizens. Making sure Uber vehicles would accomodate wheelchair users was a big win in the tense negotiations between City Hall and the aggressive ride-hailing service.

PBOT has about six weeks before the launch of bike share and Council Candidate Eudaly wants to see them do something about it. “I urge PBOT and the City of Portland to do the right thing. Show our disability community just how creative, inventive, and inclusive we can be, and avoid any potential lawsuits down the line.”

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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nuovorecord
nuovorecord
6 years ago

“Is there even a demand for adaptive bikes? ”

Other than the words of a guy who makes his living selling them, a lawyer who makes his living suing others, and a politician attempting to burnish her credentials with a baseless threat to sue the City, it would appear this story is a lot of smoke and no fire. What does the actual law and guidance related to the ADA say regarding bikeshare systems? (hint: zilch)

Noah Brimhall
Noah Brimhall
6 years ago
Reply to  nuovorecord

nuovorecord
What does the actual law and guidance related to the ADA say regarding bikeshare systems? (hint: zilch)

Just because the ADA doesn’t specifically mention a bikeshare system doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t be covered under ADA Title II which covers both local government activities and public transportation. I don’t think the fact that Mr. Steinman is an attorney specializing in ADA disqualifies him from providing an opinion on the application of ADA.

Adam
6 years ago

There is no such solution to this that wouldn’t impose an undue monetary burden on the city.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Reply to  Adam

sure- it can be considered part of the transportation ecosystem, which has ADA alternatives. That’s how I parse Capital Bikeshare’s answer.

There are options, though. Eugene’s Hilyard has adaptive bike rentals, for instance.

nuovorecord
nuovorecord
6 years ago

With no clear way to make bike share accessible for people with disabilities, I think a more constructive approach to this, rather than threats of lawsuits, would be for the city to state that there’s not a clear means of how bikeshare can comply with the ADA, but commit to work with the community on ways to better meet the needs of all residents. THAT’s the approach Eudaly should be advocating for, rather than wasting taxpayer’s dollars on symbolic measures that don’t really provide services.

soren
soren
6 years ago
Reply to  nuovorecord

“With no clear way to make bike share accessible for people with disabilities”

And you know this how exactly?

nuovorecord
nuovorecord
6 years ago
Reply to  soren

I think Rob sums it up nicely.

I will add that I am not against making bikeshare accessible. But how to actually do that is unclear.

Chris I
Chris I
6 years ago
Reply to  soren

I have yet to see you propose a solution.

soren
soren
6 years ago
Reply to  Chris I

my suggestion: talk to disability advocates and see what they propose before claiming that accommodation is impossible.

meh
meh
6 years ago
Reply to  soren

Which is exactly what nuovorecord said in his original posting. He never stated it was impossible, just that at there isn’t a clear way to accommodate everyone.

“With no clear way to make bike share accessible for people with disabilities, I think a more constructive approach to this, rather than threats of lawsuits, would be for the city to state that there’s not a clear means of how bikeshare can comply with the ADA,but commit to work with the community on ways to better meet the needs of all residents.”

Wells
Wells
6 years ago
Reply to  meh

Given thought to 3-wheel trikes it seems their specific infrastructure could begin with routes to serve commercial delivery trikes or between events sites for rickshaw. High speed trikes aren’t urban, too fast, too low. Incorporating trikes in small segments peacemeal (fruedian slip?) piecemeal, includes pedestrian considerations as well at crossings and intersections. Determine ideal trike routes. Draw curb extension and bikeway/lane dimension renderings. Trike route design infancy.

Rob Chapman
Rob Chapman
6 years ago
Reply to  nuovorecord

I discussed the issue of hand cycles with a wheelchair bound friend last summer and he said there is no one-size fits all solution due to the wide range of disabilities that people are working with. This makes bikes for the disabled very expensive due to their essentially custom nature.

I’m not sure there is a bike share solution that wouldn’t result in prices so high that nobody could afford to use the system anyway.

As an aside, nothing will open your eyes quicker to the importance of the ADA than spending a week hanging out with someone in a wheelchair.

soren
soren
6 years ago
Reply to  Rob Chapman

the absence of a solution for every disability does not mean we should not attempt some form of accommodation.

Chris I
Chris I
6 years ago
Reply to  soren

Actually, in this case, it does.

Have we proposed a bikeshare solution for people that live outside the service area? Have we proposed one for people that weigh over 300lbs? I’m 6’5″. Can I get a few dozen tall bikes around the city so I can be equally served?

Bikeshare is one-bike-fits-all for a reason. That feature is essential to a properly functioning system. Unless you can show me a successful bikeshare system somewhere else that has managed to do it.

soren
soren
6 years ago
Reply to  Chris I

and you make my point — it’s a bike rental system, not a complete transportation system. my guess is that many people will return the bikes to the kiosk they started at. and that use case is entirely compatible with having some adaptive bikes stored at a few locations.

JeffS
JeffS
6 years ago
Reply to  soren

Well, if it’s not a transportation system, there’s no equity requirement.

Eudaly is likely just criticizing a system she cares nothing about to promote her real agenda.

endo
endo
6 years ago
Reply to  soren

How are the disabled people getting from their house to the trike, and from the trike to wherever they’re going? Where are they putting their wheelchairs in the interim?

concernedcatmom
concernedcatmom
6 years ago
Reply to  Chris I

WELL…Ohio State University Bike Share, University of Maryland/City of College Park, and Carmel, IN Bike Share all seem to be making you eat your words now, huh?

Rob Chapman
Rob Chapman
6 years ago
Reply to  soren

How will you pick the winners and losers soren?

Mike Cobb
Mike Cobb
6 years ago
Reply to  nuovorecord

Any trike qualifies as adaptive. Any number of adaptive cycles is an improvement over zero adaptive cycles. It doesn’t have to be perfect or complete to be prudent and equitable and possibly a good start to a more complete program.

patrick
patrick
6 years ago
Reply to  Mike Cobb

I enthusiastically agree. And it seems that the “smart bike” system we are using would be ideal for such exploration, and amenable to incremental improvements over time as we get more data on who is using the system, and how.

MaxD
MaxD
6 years ago
Reply to  patrick

Is there a more equitable bike design they could start with? A bike that would work for more people than what is currently proposed?

Altaira Hatton
Altaira Hatton
6 years ago
Reply to  nuovorecord

Huh. No clear way? What about the other cities who have already done it? Might they offer a beacon on the path? Are we at least as smart as Carmel, Indiana?

Pete
Pete
6 years ago

Is there a precedent for a city or bike-share program being sued for ADA non-compliance? I notice you did a good job reaching out to people who’d know more than the public about bike-share inclusiveness, and it seems a difficult problem to actually solve.

endo
endo
6 years ago

The people that are feeding you this information are either trying to steal money from city government via lawsuits or are trying to kill bikeshare in this town by throwing making it impossibly expensive to run bikeshare. If bikeshare had to have the multitude of different bikes they’d need to carry to accommodate every disabled person who wanted access they’d likely just shut down the whole program. You don’t think these people know that?

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Reply to  endo

That’s a horrible misrepresentation of an entire community 🙁

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
6 years ago

I’m highly sympathetic to the differently-abled communities; I’m much less sympathetic towards the “lawyer” communities, especially those who thrive on suing cities with deep pockets.

middle of the road guy
middle of the road guy
6 years ago

what if it took 99% of the budget to accommodate 1% of the population? And then , what percent of that 1% would actually want to bike?

Is that a policy worth pursuing? After a certain point, it just is not worth trying to serve the most expensive to serve segments.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)

what if you can get from 7% to 90% without the slippery slope of going to 100%?

Anonymous
Anonymous
6 years ago

Jonathan, are you sure that the city has a legal obligation? That’s a pretty powerful statement from a journalist/activist without legal background. Are you sure you understand ADA enough to make that statement?

Esther
Esther
6 years ago
Reply to  nuovorecord

I think the fact that there is at least one person who makes a living selling the implies that there is a demand.

middle of the road guy
middle of the road guy
6 years ago
Reply to  Esther

Just because there is a demand does not mean there is an efficient way to meet it or that it is a sustainable business model.

Esther
Esther
6 years ago

Excluding the largest minority population in Oregon from a federal-, state- and city-funded program isn’t exactly efficient or sustainable either.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
6 years ago
Reply to  Esther

Aren’t women the largest minority in Oregon?

meh
meh
6 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

No, 50.5% of the population is female. How is that a minority?

https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045215/41

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
6 years ago
Reply to  meh

That would make men the biggest minority group in Oregon?

nuovorecord
nuovorecord
6 years ago
Reply to  soren

Didn’t see anything in there relevant to bikeshare and ADA. Care to point us to it, in case I missed it?

wsbob
wsbob
6 years ago
Reply to  nuovorecord

The basic premise of ‘accessible’, as it relates to a mode of public transportation based on the use of bikes for travel, is debatable. In this context, what does ‘accessible’ mean? For bike share to be accessible to people with disabilities, must bicycles be designed to cover the vast range of different disabilities that people have, unique from individual to individual?

Trimet provides some special accommodation for people with disabilities on its buses and light rail trains, where practical. To cover circumstances in which this accommodation can’t be made. Trimet budgets for separate minibuses specifically for people with disabilities. Should some comparable provision be made for bike share? For example, pedicab service included as part of bikeshare, for people with disabilities that aren’t able to ride or operate a bike, but wish to enjoy the service bike share offers… .

The nature of bikeshare, is that people seeking to use this mode of public transportation, are physically able to pedal and operate a bike under their own power; though e-assist could change that dynamic, some.

Whether and to what degree, bike share should be designed to accommodate people with disabilities, is an interesting question. For the near present future though, excessive concern about making that provision, is a bit of the ‘putting the cart before the horse’ axiom. As some here have already expressed, it may be a good idea to go easy, at least initially, on demands of this new to Portland form of public transportation, until the thing has a chance to show how many people really want to actually use it.

It would be great to wait long enough to find out whether popularity of the system will be strong enough for it to have some chance of being economically sustainable without mass infusions of public money, like Trimet relies on for its operations. Driving bikeshare’s budget costs up from the get-go, stands a good chance of sending the system spiraling down into flames.

Josh G
Josh G
6 years ago

Since Biketown will be a freelocking system without docks, I’d think it would have a much easier time getting various adaptive bikes working. Citibike can’t dock a tricycle, right?

mh
6 years ago
Reply to  Josh G

Since bikes don’t have to be returned to the dock from which they originated, they’d have to have a different kind of flagged ID, so that someone wanting one would know where that specific kind of specialty ride was located at the moment. So we’ll flag handcycles, tricycles, bikes with audible guidance systems for the visually impaired, and whatever else we determine we need, differently and in detail. I don’t see how to make that work, but perhaps someone is far more imaginative than I – and wants to contribute an awful lot of additional money.

Altaira Hatton
Altaira Hatton
6 years ago
Reply to  mh

Nope, just an app like the car share services use to let you find a pickup or van instead of the usual prius.

Adam
6 years ago

To even be useful for someone with a disability, there would need to be a multitude of adaptive bikes at every station. I don’t think it’s feasible for the city to do this. Would those people be better-served by improving public transport, instead of spending money on bikes that won’t get used? What about improving paratransit? Don’t the people who would be served by this already own an adaptive bike that likely has to be custom tailored for their use? Why not wait to see if there is a demand for this instead of trying to speak for people with disabilities whom are not even asking for this, by suing the city and delaying the rollout even further.

soren
soren
6 years ago
Reply to  Adam

As the mother of a differently abled child I think Chloe Eudaly has every right to speak out about this. Bike share will not only be used by people traveling from point A to point B for transportation but also by people interested in riding for leisure/pleasure. Surely some accommodation of differently-abled people is feasible in the latter case?

Adam
6 years ago
Reply to  soren

Absolutely there should be accommodation. I’m not arguing against that. However, I think that what’s likely is that the city will provide a only a few bikes, which diminishes its use for transportation. Bike share doesn’t work with only a few bikes. For recreation, perhaps people with disabilities could be better-served by a bike rental service? Otherwise, won’t they have to track down the adaptive bike to wherever it was last left, which would burden the differently-abled person? Could PBOT partner with a few local bike shops instead? Or do shops around town already offer these bikes?

soren
soren
6 years ago
Reply to  Adam

Don’t you think this is a conversation that the city should be having? I’m very glad that Chloe brought this up and hope it leads to some adaptive bikes being made available.

Adam
6 years ago
Reply to  soren

I do agree this conversation should be had. However, I disagree that offering a few adaptive bikes will be a viable solution. Just because the city can in theory offer the bikes doesn’t mean it will be useful in practice.

Unlike a bus or train, it’s not generally accepted that bikes can be used by people with disabilities that prevent them from riding a bike. Especially when there are viable alternatives for transportation available.

Perhaps PBOT should reach out to the disabled community and ask them what will work for them instead of us arguing over solutions here.

Chloe
6 years ago
Reply to  Adam

A number of people with disabilities that would like to use the BIKETOWN system have contacted the city and gotten the brush off. Did you read the exchange Jonathan has with the Buruea of Transportation rep? Can you imagine a lifetime of listening to that nonsense? No one is chomping at the bit to sue the city, but people within the disability community are tired of being excluded. This issue was brought to my attention by a person with a disability who would like to access the program. Some good points have been raised here. There is no one size fits all solution, we will not be able to accommodate everyone, but this is not an all or nothing proposition. I’ll come back to comment but for now I have to get my kid to school. I drive him every day because the school district wants me to get him up at 6am for an hour long bus ride despite the fact we live 10 minutes away.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Reply to  Chloe

Thanks, Chloe. I’m looking forward to hearing more. Maybe you could do an interview with Jonathan or write a guest post?

Ted Timmons (Contributor)

Love David G 🙂

middle of the road guy
middle of the road guy
6 years ago
Reply to  Chloe

Doesn’t ‘differently abled’ mean that such a person might not be able to do certain things?

Swan Island Runner
Swan Island Runner
6 years ago
Reply to  Chloe

Off subject but related to part of your comment…

I had a 45 minute bus ride that would have been 8 minutes direct by car throughout all my school years, and some kids on my route had to go near to the hour you mention above. Not everyone can be both last on and first off on a school bus route. Some people have to get out of bed earlier if they want a ride. How would you propose for the school district to change things in order to make things easier for your family?

middle of the road guy
middle of the road guy
6 years ago
Reply to  soren

define “feasible”. Fairness is not always feasible, nor is “wouldn’t it be nice”.

Some things are just not worth the investment, especially if they disproportionately impact the majority of the population.

kelly tadlock
kelly tadlock
6 years ago
Reply to  Adam

Guess what? I am a paraplegic and I am asking for this inclusion into this.
Why don’t you try reaching out to groups and asking instead of assuming that no one is interested … Try Oregon Spinal Cord Injury Connection if you need some education… No everbody does’nt get Adaptive equipment from Santa

jd
jd
6 years ago
Reply to  Adam

Time was, Sonny, when there wasn’t so much demand for bike infrastructure. Cities that knew right from wrong made it available anyway.

There’s a lot of letting perfect be the enemy of good in these comments. I hope that’s not the case when people who can make changes have this conversation.

Adam
6 years ago
Reply to  jd

I’m not hoping for a perfect solution. However, my fear is that in trying to appease people, PBOT will implement a half-assed solution that will just make more people upset. This is a complicated technological issue and time is needed to solve it properly. People with disabilities deserve a better solution than simply adding a few adaptive bikes and seeing what happens.

On the other hand, people with disabilities won’t be able to use the system as is anyway, so why not try something on a trial basis? So I guess what I’m saying is I don’t think adding a few adaptive bikes to the fleet will be a great solution, but I’m not opposed to PBOT at least trying this approach and seeing what happens.

Esther
Esther
6 years ago

Excellent coverage, Jonathan! I have often wondered about this angle myself and agree with Josh G’s comment that our great system seems better suited to accommodating adaptive bikes. I would love to see adaptive bikes be readily available for Biketown users. Amundson’s comment about people not wanting to cause a hassle is spot on.

paikiala
paikiala
6 years ago

It seems like springing for a couple special bikes would not be too difficult or costly. Getting them adapted for use in the system might be tricky.
I’m not sure how doing so will shield the City from a lawsuit. ‘better than anyone else is doing’ doesn’t work for Civil Rights law.
I also foresee an issue regarding number of units. How ‘equal access’ is defined in this case (proportional ratios?) and where the bikes are located seem like more sticking points.

Adam
6 years ago
Reply to  paikiala

Right, the bikes are easy enough, but if there are not enough of them to make a bike share system useful, then what’s the point of having the bike? Purchasing enough bikes to make them useful would be an undue monetary burden on the city. At that point, you might as well have PBOT operate a Biketown pedicab service; though honestly not a bad idea as it would be much cheaper than paratransit.

Bay Area Rider
Bay Area Rider
6 years ago
Reply to  Adam

Are the bikes really easy enough? Start thinking about all the possible variations of bikes needed. Trikes and hand cycles seem obvious. Next would be tandems for blind riders along with their captains. Bikes for people with no left hand/arm so all the controls on the right and bikes for people with no right hand/arm so all the controls on the left. I know of a person who has lost both hands in a job related accident yet has adopted a bike so he can ride, it has paddles he can activate with his legs for brakes. In addition to the various types of bikes you will need bikes in a variety of sizes since most of the time someone who is 5 foot 3 isn’t going to be able to use the same bike as someone who is 6 foot 4. Then I assume you need multi copies of each bike type and size so you can have multi stations/areas covered.

Adam
6 years ago
Reply to  Bay Area Rider

Yes fair point. Even more reason this is not just a simple solution. Why is this issue just now being brought up, anyway? This bike share program was in planning for nearly ten years.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
6 years ago
Reply to  Adam

All the more reason that PBOT should have been ready with a solution, rather than stonewalling when the question came up. PBOT engineering, design, & maintenance all have excellent track records for accommodating residents with disabilities over the years, but apparently the bike share planning folks at PBOT didn’t get the memo.

middle of the road guy
middle of the road guy
6 years ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

seriously….what is the demand for this? less than 100 people?

Eric Leifsdad
Eric Leifsdad
6 years ago
Reply to  Adam

Perhaps our local pedicab companies could be part of the solution. I think wheelchairs do have equal access to bike lanes, but I agree that getting the wind in your hair and rain on your face should be as accessible as possible.

I think the issue *is* that this didn’t come up until now. Someone needs to ask about access and equity as part of the planning. The city should have already covered this ground. Their outreach and studies should have answers about demand and effective solutions.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
6 years ago
Reply to  Bay Area Rider

I have a neighbor with a disability that allows her to only ride an e-bike. Should she be accommodated?

kelly tadlock
kelly tadlock
6 years ago
Reply to  paikiala

Waivers signed work just fine . Team River runner takes folks with disability out on Kayaks No problems

Tom Hardy
Tom Hardy
6 years ago

The only possible adaptive cycle would be an E-Trike. For safety reasons it would need either a tall flag or be an old style trike with rear wheel drive and an upright seat instead of the safer recliner. It could be used by a quadraplegic.

Justin
Justin
6 years ago

I’m not entirely sure how Eudaly hopes to gain by making threats against the city for which she is running for office. “Awfully nice bike share you’re getting, it’d be a shame if something happened to it.”

I have been very vocal in my frustrations with Novick, but this is ridiculous.

Paul Cone
Paul Cone
6 years ago
Reply to  Justin

I didn’t read anything threatening — I read that someone who has experience in these issues thinks it’s inevitable that there will be lawsuits.

Chris I
Chris I
6 years ago
Reply to  Paul Cone

She can think that all she wants, but there is zero legal precedent for a bike share access lawsuit. Can you point me to one?

Eudaly and many other people quoted in this article apparently do not understand how bikeshare works. Even if you were to outfit customized bikes for disabled users, how do you go about selecting a standard? There are literally hundreds of different disabilities that require different features. This is precisely why we have special bike shops that build these bikes. Even if you were to settle on a single design, you would need to deploy dozens of them for the service to have any utility for the disabled users.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
6 years ago
Reply to  Chris I

Cities are regularly sued for disability claims. Most cities prefer to settle out of court, and out of the public limelight. The lawsuit settlements are typically for less than $50,000 and are mentioned on city council consent agendas from time to time, including in Portland. Just because the Oregonian doesn’t splash it across page one doesn’t mean it doesn’t occur.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
6 years ago
Reply to  Paul Cone

I agree, with a $6+ million bikeshare program, plus millions to fix downtown bikeways, there will be plenty of lawsuits. Eudaly is deliberately HELPING the city, by forcing it to come to term with disability issues before the bikeshare launch. Even if they are never fixed, the city will be better ready to fight such lawsuits before they occur. This is a case of “an once of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Chloe Eudaly
6 years ago
Reply to  Justin

That’s a mighty big leap you’ve taken there. Pointing out that the city is opening itself up to a lawsuit is not tantamount to threatening a lawsuit.

kelly tadlock
kelly tadlock
6 years ago
Reply to  Justin

She is asking for equity for people with disabilitys thats why I will vote for her

Buzz
Buzz
6 years ago

Waste of time and effort. I will henceforth be supporting Novick, I think he’s done rather OK at the thankless job of trying to balance transportation interests in a time of limited budgets.

Chris I
Chris I
6 years ago
Reply to  Buzz

Exactly. I know for sure that I will be voting for Novick after reading this. Eudaly sounds like another Fritz; getting caught up on ideological issues rather than running a city effectively. I know she is just “starting a conversation”, but if you have to “start a conversation” about every special interest for every project, nothing will ever get done. Do we want the bike network built out? Do we want things like bike share?

The city complies with ADA for public transit with the Trimet LIFT service; at an enormous cost to the taxpayer. Crippling our bikeshare system by requiring specialized bikes for every type of disability is a terrible idea.

Bill Stites
6 years ago
Reply to  Chris I

Sorry, ADA issues are not ideological issues. The ADA is in place because enough people in this country recognized that accommodations need to be considered for all of our citizens, oftentimes forcefully so.

This is a conversation that needs to be had. And you don’t start it with, “it can’t be done”. Challenging? absolutely. Impossible? please. It may be that in the end, there are serious compromises – surely the system can’t accommodate everyone all the time – but the considerations shouldn’t be zero, as they are now.

I have one word to describe many of the comments here – COLD. I predict that history will be on Eudaly’s side … the law already is.

Chris I
Chris I
6 years ago
Reply to  Bill Stites

I think you will find that nearly every person commenting here supports things that would cost-effectively benefit the disabled:

– Completing sidewalks throughout the city
– Expanding transit service
– Improving pedestrian safety with street design and speed enforcement

We take issue with the idea of ADA accommodation for our bike share system. The system, as planned, will only cover a small portion of the city, due to a limited budget. ADA accommodation would literally kill this project. Commonality is incredibly important for bike share systems. It is already hard enough to balance the bikes in the system, with one bike type. Trying to manage numerous bike types in a way that provides utility for the users would be incredibly expensive, which is why no bike share does this. We are wasting time even discussing this.

If we want to improve the lives of the disabled in Portland, we should focus on street infrastructure, or even a program that subsidizes the purchase of bikes for the disabled. We will get much more bang for our buck.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Reply to  Chris I

I’m not in the “we shouldn’t have accommodations in bikeshare” camp, though the rest is approximately correct. I’d hope it doesn’t delay or hinder bikeshare rollout, but there are some relatively easy things to do, basically a handful of accessible trikes that can be rented with a phone call and scheduled delivery. Not much different than LIFT.

JeffS
JeffS
6 years ago

Such a service would have literally nothing in common with biketown.

That’s the point many are ignoring. If you want to have a disabled bike rental system fine, but it’s not bikeshare.

Or… buy a couple of bikes, pay the bike rental place on the esplanade to store them. Have the people take transit down there to ride them. Hell, it would probably be cheaper to buy bikes for the disabled who claim to want them than to try to maintain a rental program.

soren
6 years ago
Reply to  JeffS

you must have used a different bike share system from me…because i distinctly remember renting a bike, riding it around, and dropping it off.

Rob Chapman
Rob Chapman
6 years ago
Reply to  Bill Stites

Bill you may be part of the solution for people with mobility issues. Have you considered roll on/ roll off Truck Trikes? Just throwing ideas out there.

Bill Stites
6 years ago
Reply to  Rob Chapman

If you mean, can the Truck Trike accommodate wheelchairs? then the answer is yes. Obviously not a self-powered situation.

middle of the road guy
middle of the road guy
6 years ago
Reply to  Bill Stites

The ADA requires Reasonable accommodations…not “if it can be done, it has to be done”.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
6 years ago
Reply to  Chris I

FYI, the City of Portland doesn’t run Trimet nor any of the lift/dial-a-ride services; they are entirely unrelated and separate transportation systems. Trimet is a state agency that runs most (but not all) of the transit services of three counties (hence its name), Clackamas, Multnomah, & Washington. However, the City of Portland does own and largely pays for the Portland Streetcar service, which is run/governed by a nonprofit, and hires Trimet staff to operate it. My understanding is that the city has no plans to expand its bikeshare program throughout the three counties, nor even to any part of its own city outside of the trendy and overpriced core.

The earlier argument that Portland bikeshare is part of a transportation system that includes transit, is similarly false, unless bikeshare is entirely linked to streetcar only, but not to light rail or bus at all.

Todd Hudson
Todd Hudson
6 years ago
Reply to  Chris I

I so badly want to vote out Novick, but having even less less pragmatism and more ideologic rigidity to the city commission will amount to less getting done.

kelly tadlock
kelly tadlock
6 years ago
Reply to  Chris I

Thanks I am going to share your opinion with Oregon Spinal Cord Injury Connection

JeffS
JeffS
6 years ago
Reply to  Buzz

I’m with you.

This is the kind of uninformed thinking out loud I’ve come to expect from Fritz. We certainly don’t need another one in office.

Paul Cone
Paul Cone
6 years ago
Reply to  JeffS

What do you mean by that?

kelly tadlock
kelly tadlock
6 years ago
Reply to  Buzz

I will be supporting Chloe it might not seem like a waste of time if you become disabled

Al Dimond
6 years ago

So bike share can’t be used by everyone… well, we already knew that, didn’t we? Bike share is deployed across a fairly limited portion of any city because bike share doesn’t attract very many riders in the rest of the city.

This chips away at the idea that the benefit of bike share is broad-based enough to qualify for public subsidy. It probably chips away less than the geographic disparities, but it’s a cut that suggests others. Maybe this just isn’t a service that should be offered by the city and considered part of its infrastructure!

maccoinnich
6 years ago

I think it would be interesting to hear Steve Novick’s opinions on this matter. As well as being the transportation Commissioner and Chloe Eudaly’s opponent, he is someone who has physical disabilities that prevent him from being able to ride a bike.

Jim Lee
Jim Lee
6 years ago

Just returned from a week in Salt Lake City.

In four days downtown I saw half-a-dozen of the plentiful green bikes in use.

Seemed pretty expensive, and perhaps dangerous, for SLC’s wide streets are conducive to fast driving.

Bjorn
Bjorn
6 years ago

Seems kind of ridiculous to me, what is next seeing eye dogs locked to some of the bikes for blind users. ADA has done some good things for sure, but some of this stuff goes a bit too far.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
6 years ago
Reply to  Bjorn

How about putting the entire PBOT bike/ped/transit program, which only a minority of Portlanders use (officially 7%+9%+12% respectively), and use the savings to pave more streets, for the majority 70% of residents who only drive? Very logical.

Todd Boulanger
Todd Boulanger
6 years ago

Perhaps a potential existing model for improving accessibility to this service…would be how the car share companies have attempted to address this issue.

My memory was that car share companies would provide members who are physically disabled a vehicle with hand controls or other accessibility tools or assistance (making a reservation etc.).

The Zipcar website discusses what they will do for accessibility for members…as long as they have a 24 hour notice before a planned trip…this is similar to the reservation policy of most public para transit services.

http://members.zipcar.com/en-GB/portland/apply/services-for-disabled

I cannot speak to how successful these companies have been in meeting this type of required service…none of the Flexcar / Portland Carshare members I recruited requested such a service.

Todd Boulanger
Todd Boulanger
6 years ago
Reply to  Todd Boulanger

So…a US bike share company…once it had a member with a known / pre identified “disability” could theoretically deliver an accessible bike to a starting location using their staff during fleet rebalancing procedures…not sure if it would be locked to a station pod stall vs tethered …the drop off may require locking it to a city rack. Or perhaps contract out such a service to a third party…

Then there is the next question…would such an “accessible bike” need to be “provided” only at the fixed bike share pod or would such be delivered to a starting point within 1/4 mile of the bike share pod like para-transit is for fixed route transit?

[I would be a little surprised if CoP staff did not discuss such a scenario during the planning of this new service…at least internally. Or did the City’s legal / procurement / ADA coordinator staff miss it? This is a bit of evolutionary discussion.]

Granpa
Granpa
6 years ago

If there is a transportation system that accommodates the disabled that operates parallel to the bike share, then, I would think, they are covered. Bus, Max and street cars are accessible, and special Tri-Met van are delivering people to their doors already. Can a handicapped person sue to use stairs if there is a ramp available?

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
6 years ago
Reply to  Granpa

Trimet is not a City of Portland service. If transit was a municipal service, your point would probably be justified.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Reply to  David Hampsten

Why does the agency/region matter? Portland is a subset of Trimet’s boundaries and is covered by Trimet’s transportation.

Chris I
Chris I
6 years ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

The City of Portland is not legally required to provide the service, because Trimet does, and Portland is part of the Trimet service area.

Dave
Dave
6 years ago

I have no dog in this fight at all but as a working bike mechanic it prompts the question of what variety of bikes/trikes would be needed? There’s a pretty wide range of trikes, e-trikes, quads, and handcycles that are used by differently abled people. One thing that makes bike share systems work is that a generic kind of bike is very widely usable, a quality that isn’t shared by most special needs machines.

Bike Guy
Bike Guy
6 years ago

Now I know how to vote in the City Council election.

Citibike is apparently private. Why isn’t the Nike-sponsored Biketown private?
If it were, we’d avoid this mess, which could easily be the demise of bikeshare.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
6 years ago
Reply to  Bike Guy

I entirely agree, but Portland’s particular service is dependent upon a $2 million Federal grant and at least $4 million more in local and state grants, hence the ADA arguments. Nike is effectively only providing a minority stake in the project.

Kyle Banerjee
6 years ago

Ignoring that the needs of those with disabilities vary wildly (and therefore require different adaptive bicycles), I’m unclear on what is desired.

Even if all the correct adaptive bicycles could be provided, how are those that need them supposed to use them? Just leave their wheelchair or whatever adaptive technology they need to get around behind? What are they supposed to do when they get to their destination?

Bike share needs to be considered as part of a broader transportation plan. It’s all about getting everyone where they need to be in the way that makes the most sense for them individually, not making sure that everyone uses every single transportation option.

Todd Boulanger
Todd Boulanger
6 years ago
Reply to  Kyle Banerjee

Yes – it is as complex as the range of bicycles abled bodied cyclists choose themselves.

adaptivecyclist
adaptivecyclist
6 years ago
Reply to  Todd Boulanger

It is far, far more complex than that. Very unfortunately, there is a reason that adaptive sports equipment is unbelievably expensive. This is not, “Just put in a bunch of recumbents or trikes.” There are extensive fitting processes, testing, and instruction to make sure the rider feels capable and confident with whatever piece of equipment they’re getting. The standardized experience of bikeshare can’t meet the customized needs of an adaptive rider. The money and effort it would cost to implement any sort of (probably highly ineffective and potentially dangerous) adaptive bikeshare would be far better spent subsidizing adaptive bike equipment and the process, giving people their own equipment and a transportation solution that works.

MaxD
MaxD
6 years ago

This is a great topic! I am glad it has been raised and was so well-reported on. It seems very unfortunate that Eudaly appears to give an undercurrent of threatening a lawsuit as opposed to working toward a solution. In my experience, the ADA guidelines are ridiculously easy to skirt, but the City can occasionally be responsive if a reasonable solution is offered. An example of Portland willfully ignoring the spirit of the ADA guidelines is the Waud Bluff trail that was created as a pedestrian and bike connection to Swan Island. Because the bluff required the trail to be constructed with slopes slightly in excess of ADA standards, the City chose to terminate the bridge in stairs even though this completely excludes many users who could have negotiated the path just fine (motorized wheel chairs, people with strollers, many wheelchair users). For Bikeytown, a broad conversation should be conducted to determine if there is a need/desire for bikes for disabled people, and if so, create a working group of stakeholders to review possible solutions with the caveat that this may be a phase 2 implementation. The easier thing to fix about Bikeytown is that it completely excludes all people under the age of 18! And the fact that they want to put large bike parking stations on our sidewalks! Let’s work to fix these obvious flaws before they get built, then continue to work to improve the system and make it more inclusive.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
6 years ago
Reply to  MaxD

I don’t think she’s threatening a lawsuit, but rather warning the City that others will sue. There was a recent article in the Economist about many major lawyer firms getting ready to sue local governments nationwide over the lack of ADA accommodation progress, that they held off on suits during the long recession, but that they are now ready to sue left, right, and center. Even the threat of a suit costs cities money.

Chloe Eudaly
6 years ago
Reply to  MaxD

I appreciate your comment but want to make it clear that I am not threatening a lawsuit by pointing out that the city is opening itself up to one.

Chris I
Chris I
6 years ago
Reply to  Chloe Eudaly

You are creating this controversy, and significantly increasing the likelihood that the city could get sued. This is a great way to run a campaign.

endo
endo
6 years ago
Reply to  Chris I

What she’s really doing is killing bike sharing in Portland before it even gets off the ground. I cannot wait to vote against her in the next election.

nuovorecord
nuovorecord
6 years ago
Reply to  Chloe Eudaly

And should you be elected, you will be responsible for responding to that lawsuit. What is your solution? I want a politician to solve problems, not just point them out.

not that Mark
not that Mark
6 years ago

I was impressed with the comments Chloe posted here right after the election. Between her and Novick I know there will be good representation for the elderly and disabled on city council. The needs of the elderly and disabled and their caretakers are easy to overlook when one is young and healthy. After watching my parents get old and getting to know a disabled person my views changed alot.

I have viewed bike share as more recreation than transportation. In that light, access for the disabled seems a bit silly. But if it is to be considered as a legitimate transportation mode for the general public, which most folks here seem to want, then the ADA should be addressed. In the end very little may change.

Todd Boulanger
Todd Boulanger
6 years ago
Reply to  not that Mark

Yes this is a key part of how this discussion will evolve over time…initially there may be little interest in bike share by this demographic…they may never have cycled or other mobility options are preferred to shared bikes…then later there may be more interest by this user group as the mobility tools improve or interest / expectations grow.

When I started planning work in transportation facilities design and planning there was little need or awareness or training to plan for accessible beaches or trails…but this changed over time to now be unthinkable and a common expectation (a right).

colton
colton
6 years ago

I wonder what the Dutch do?

Todd Boulanger
Todd Boulanger
6 years ago
Reply to  colton

As of my last trips to the Netherlands (2010) there seemed to not be a similar Federal mobility requirement similar in the Netherlands (Equal Treatment Law) for the portion of the issue we are talking about (bikes or sidewalks). Generally one does see some tandem bikes or trike bakfiets used for local transport of the disabled. (Though many transportation facilities seem more blind friendly there than here as to cane way finding.)

The issue of bike storage on street may deter some of this demand since it is a great struggle for even the able bodied to carry their bike up stairs to park in their apartments.

The more common mobility tool there is the micro-car that is halfway between a Fiat 500 and a motorized wheelchair…these vehicles can park on the sidewalk and travel on the bikeways. This is a missing accessibility tool in the US tool box.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
6 years ago
Reply to  Todd Boulanger

The US is lousy on bike infrastructure, trains, and making roads safe, but it is very advanced relative to most of Europe on accommodating disabled residents, and enforcing such laws. It isn’t perfect, obviously, and has a long way to go, but it is much better than elsewhere. I have seen disabled folks in the Netherlands & Britain try (and fail) to navigate the super-narrow sidewalks (often less than 2 feet wide) in medieval areas of towns. It is painful to watch. Even more painful is the disdain that others who walk so fast have for anyone who doesn’t.

dan
dan
6 years ago

I bet Nike’s PR department is super excited by this discussion. I’m sure they’re looking forward to having their brand identified with any upcoming controversy.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
6 years ago
Reply to  dan

I’m sure they would welcome the distraction, rather than news stories of their overseas factories employing Chinese slave prisoner pandas to produce their $200 shoes.

Jonathan Radmacher
Jonathan Radmacher
6 years ago

How-To-Kill-Bike-Share-101. Seriously?!? You realize that sight impaired people would have a similar right, right? You don’t have to fundamentally change the service to meet everyone’s needs, e.g. if someone has a vertigo disability they don’t get to demand three wheels; if someone can’t pedal they don’t get to demand a motorized bike.

Todd Boulanger
Todd Boulanger
6 years ago

And also we have to remember that many northern european governments have social service agencies that traditionally provided a higher quality package of care and mobility that may have deterred a larger proportion of this demographic from seeking independence and jobs and such…thus the larger society may now just be dealing with the initial phases of access and equity in employment etc…vs the US that started in the 70’s/ 80s down this path.

soren
soren
6 years ago

purchasing a few additional bikes/trikes would cost millions and kill biketown dead!!! in fact, even discussing accommodation could kill bike share everywhere!!!
velib…dead.
citibikes…dead.
boris bikes…all dead.

/s

Adam
6 years ago
Reply to  soren

I’m not opposed to PBOT purchasing a few trikes. I think they should. However, I’m concerned with the logistics of assuring that someone with a disability can easily access one of the few trikes without an additional burden. If anyone has a solution to this, I’m more than happy to hear it.

lop
lop
6 years ago
Reply to  Adam

Some car rental places require advanced notice to provide accessible vehicles. How about this, set up a customer service facility where people can try out/learn how to adjust any of the different types of accessible bikes offered, and set a goal of accommodating say 90% of requests for a non standard bike to be available at station X at time Y made 24 hours in advance. With a large enough fleet of non standard bikes and fleet rebalancers to accomplish this. Maybe add in longer rental times/let people ‘park’ those bikes for free since they can’t necessarily use any of the others at a given dock. Doesn’t serve everyone, but might serve some people. A future expansion that offers electric vespa style scooters could open the possibility of serving even more people. I’d like to hear more suggestions from people who would use the service, in Portland or a comparable system in an other city.

http://www.bikeradar.com/beginners/news/article/bike-sharing-market-set-to-soar-43391/

This problem is bigger than Portland of course. If this is a multinational billion dollar industry maybe some federal regulations are in order. Wheelchair accessible buses are nearly universal at least in part due to strings that come with federal grants to buy those buses. Portland bike share is paid for in part with federal grants. Maybe future grants for bike share should require systems to offer some degree of accessibility.

Adam
6 years ago
Reply to  lop

What you’re describing sounds like a great idea, but IMO sounds more like a bike rental service than a bike share. Maybe a supplementary bike rental service is the solution here. The logistics with rebalancing become challenging when the person is renting a bike specially for them. Therefore, they can’t just pick up any bike off the rack, and can’t let anyone else share their bike.

Perhaps PBOT could partner with a local bike rental shop that offers these bikes (or create the rental service if no such shop meets their qualifications) and direct people who ask about accessible bikes to that bike shop.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
6 years ago
Reply to  Adam

For “sharing economy” refugees like myself, what is the difference between “sharing” and “renting”? Aren’t they basically the same thing?

Adam
6 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

Where I draw the line is sharing means that as soon as you’re done with the bike, it’s open for someone else to take. Whereas renting means you have it reserved for a period of time, so that no one can take it when you’re not riding it. I imagine the former could pose a challenge for someone who needs a specialized bike. Though, if the bike is so specialized to that person, likely no one will want to take it, but still they theoretically could, leaving the person stranded if there is not a similar bike nearby.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
6 years ago
Reply to  Adam

That’s not a terribly helpful distinction… if I return my car to Hertz before my alotted time is up, they can give it to the next person who walks in the door. I can keep the bike share bike as long as I want to keep paying for it; I can lock it and “reserve it” for hours on end; same with car2go. With AirBnB, I can’t leave my room early and pay less.

Adam
6 years ago
Reply to  Adam

Sure, it’s a fluid line. However, a hallmark of bike share specifically, is as soon as you lock up the bike, anyone can take it. As well as the lack of staffed facilities. I can foresee these criteria posing challenges for someone with a disability. There may be ways to circumvent this, however. Perhaps the bike can be programmed differently as to not allow others to unlock it until the user allows it to be. Maybe the person can call a number if they need assistance getting into the bike. I see all these as doable, however, the question I propose is would it be easier (and therefore able to serve the disabled community sooner) to have one or more local bike shops rent out these adaptive bikes, instead of working around the established bike share paradigm? I don’t know the answer to this. I think there is more than one solution to this and it would be prudent of PBOT to start analyzing them and reaching out to the disabled community to come up with a plan.

Todd Boulanger
Todd Boulanger
6 years ago

Since the quest of what car share does for enhancing its services for members with a physical disability…here is some history:

Handicapped accessibility
“Adapting carsharing vehicles to persons with physical disabilities presents special challenges not faced by traditional car rental. With car sharing no mechanic is present to install or adjust adaptive equipment, and that equipment is left unattended after each use. In 2008, City CarShare introduced the first wheelchair carrying car share vehicle, the Access Mobile, specifically designed as a fleet vehicle shared with, not segregated from, non-wheelchair users.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carsharing

If the zero year of US car sharing is 1998 (Dave Brook et al started Portland Car Share) …then it took 10 years to start to address this issue for wheel chair users vs. hand controls.

So for US bike share we should be getting close to this awareness if the bike share zero year was 2008 (DC v1).

RH
RH
6 years ago

So if there is a walking trail at a city park, how is the city supposed to acomodate someine that can’t walk it? I don’t want to burst anyones bubble, but many things in life are not fair or equitable.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
6 years ago
Reply to  RH

It does need to be seen as “fair & equitable” if you are using any public money, but especially Federal funds, which Portland Bikeshare certainly does, and does it ever…

bjorn
bjorn
6 years ago
Reply to  RH

This is actually playing out in Louisiana I believe as people are trying to force ATV’s onto quiet recreation trails because it will open them to the handicapped.

Marshall Runkel
Marshall Runkel
6 years ago

Marshall Runkel, Chloe’s campaign manager here. She is hosting an event at Reading Frenzy, a reading and book signing for Kate Daloz’s We Are As Gods that chronicles the trials and tribulations of a back-to-the-land commune in Vermont. Otherwise, she’d likely weigh in herself.

I understand and respect how much work has gone into developing Portland’s bike share system. I guarantee that Chloe’s intention isn’t to derail the system. She is posing questions that arguably should have been considered before she raised them.

Maybe DC’s answer, that bike share is part of transportation system that has other components that are accessible, is the best we can do. I’m reluctantly resisting my urge to take a shot at the wit and wisdom of DC, but seriously am willing to accept that answer if many of the valid issues others have raised here about including adaptive bikes are insurmountable.

Two overarching points about Chloe’s campaign: we aren’t going to engage in cheap shots and we will do our best to provide intrinsic value to the city regardless of the result of the race.

Many thanks to Jonathan for the great journalism!!!

Marshall Runkel
Marshall Runkel
6 years ago

Two point five more things now that the basketball game is over and I can type with all my fingers.

1. This is not a new issue for Chloe. Her son has a significant disability. She founded the Special Education PTA for PPS, she has been a tireless and constructive activist for accessibility in the park system, particularly so her son can have an equal opportunity to play on playgrounds.

2. The no cheap shots line sounded like a back handed criticism in retrospect. It isn’t. I respect and admire Steve Novick. My wife and I turned our daughter’s first birthday party into a fundraiser (and Scrabble tournament!) for Steve’s Senate campaign. I obviously believe Chloe is a better fit for the City Council, but know we don’t need to demean Steve to make that point.

2.5. There should be an “a” before “transportation system” in the first sentence of the third paragraph of my original post. I regret the error.

carlb
carlb
6 years ago

It is a very short leap from, “People who need iron lungs can’t use bike share, so nobody should be allowed to use bike share” to, “People who need iron lungs can’t ride bikes, so nobody should be allowed to ride bikes.”

Marie Deatherage
Marie Deatherage
6 years ago

My son was born with a disability that left him paralyzed from the armpits down. So often, when he wasn’t able to even get on a playground or in a building or attend an event, I used to have to explain that those things were designed and built before we knew any better. As he got older, it became clear that even though we knew better and people with disabilities finally had civil rights, I didn’t know how to explain to him why we were still designing and building things he still couldn’t access. Believe me, we have a very long way to go before things are actually equal. I lost my beloved Blaine almost a year and a half ago. It breaks my already broken heart to see that now that we know better, accommodating people with disabilities is still seen as an afterthought, too much trouble, not worth it, etc. by some. In 2016, can we start these designing and building discussions with the premise that accessibility is a priority and we’ll come up with a system that represents our best work. If everyone only knew how many obstacles people and families with disabilities still face. Yes, now that we know better. Please bear this in mind when these conversations happen.

anon
anon
6 years ago

There’s a lot to unpack here, so please bear with me:

1) persons with disabilities are a very diverse group of individuals. Persons with disabilities include but are not limited to persons with physical disabilities, mental health users, persons with sensory disabilities (Deaf, hard of hearing, blind, low vision, and deafblind), intellectual/cognitive disabilities, etc.

2) Some persons with all of those above mentioned disabilities can use the bikeshare system as currently construed. Yes, I realize that includes blind persons. Please follow this link if you want to begin to change how you see persons who are blind:

http://www.npr.org/programs/invisibilia/378577902/how-to-become-batman

3) The fact that people with disabilities who use hand-cycles may not be able to use the bike share system cannot be used as an argument that the system is inaccessible for all persons with disabilities. Nor is it fair to use that as an argument to say that it is inequitable for persons with disabilities. While I’d thought about supporting Chloe Eudely, her comments and her campaign manager’s comments, make me less inclined to do so.

4) while it is true that in an ideal world the bikeshare system would have hand-cycles, the very nature of the system (where bikes move from one location to a next) makes it very difficult to have any customized bikes for anyone. (there are also no bikes for 7 foot tall basketball players. should we ding PBOT for that too?)

5) I don’t know what the demand for hand-cycles within the smallish geographic scope of the first phase of the bikeshare system is. I would suspect it is fairly low. are hand-cycle users complaining about the exclusion of hand-cycles from the bike share system or is it only lawyers and Chloe Eudaly (who I understand has a son with CP)?

6) full disclosure – I have CP. and I ride a bike.

7) I echo the sentiment that was expressed in a comment above regrading the specific technical requirements that would need to be adhered to for each unique hand-cycle user, whose body types will differ from one another. no two hand-cycle users are identical. each cycle, therefore, must be customized. this is the whole point of reasonable accommodation – i.e it is based on the individual user.

8) Given that, PBOT is in a no win situation here.

9) my concern here is that non-disabled persons often think they are advocating on behalf of persons with disabilities when in reality that advocacy is based on their own views rather than the actual views of the person with the disability (this is a huge problem, especially when it comes to the issue of legal guardianship).

10) a person who uses a hand-cycle presumably also uses a wheelchair. switching from wheelchair to hand-cycle at a kiosk is something that some wheelchair users may be able to do (like Ian), but many wheelchair users may not be able to manage such a transition, and would also then be required to store their wheelchair somewhere secure while making that shift.

11) the Eugene rental website that someone linked to is different enough that I don’t think the comparison is fair. I can say more about this, but I’ll leave it at that for now given the length of this post.

soren
soren
6 years ago
Reply to  anon

“The Eugene rental website that someone linked to is different enough that I don’t think the comparison is fair.”

Many people will pick up a biketown bike from a fixed location and return it to the same fixed location. The Eugene rental website follows this model exactly. So why exactly is the comparison unfair?

anon
anon
6 years ago
Reply to  soren

Here are two to begin with:

1) for rentals the eugene site starts with an individual assessment of the rider. the PBOT system does not have staff at every location to carry out such assessments. Even if they did have staff, PBOT would first have to ensure those staff have sufficient technical training to do those assessments on a wide range of hand-cycle users

2) persons in Eugene rent a specific cycle for recreation and return that cycle to the same location. unlike in Portland, they are not picking it up at one location and dropping it off at another. If I have rent a hand-cycle and go from PSU to Powells and then go into Powells, what’s to prevent someone else from picking up that hand-cycle while I’m shopping?

soren
soren
6 years ago
Reply to  anon

If I have rent a hand-cycle and go from PSU to Powells and then go into Powells, what’s to prevent someone else from picking up that hand-cycle while I’m shopping?

no one has argued that “accommodation” has to resemble the current bike share set up.

Adam
6 years ago
Reply to  soren

Isn’t that what people are saying by asking for bike share to be accessible? Offering the same service? Otherwise you’re just asking for a bike rental service, not a bike share program. IMO, given how bike share systems are structured, a fixed bike rental service would be far more accommodating to people with disabilities than a bike share.

soren
soren
6 years ago
Reply to  anon

non-disabled persons often think they are advocating on behalf of persons with disabilities when in reality that advocacy is based on their own views rather than the actual views of the person with the disability

i have a family member who *cannot* ride a bike but rides a trike. i think you greatly underestimate the number of people who could be accommodated relatively inexpensively.

Adam
6 years ago
Reply to  soren

What is the right number of trikes to offer that won’t be wasteful yet accommodates the greatest amount of people? What happens when someone else picks up the trike after a stop and now the rider has no way to get back? Do they just reserve it for the day, locking out others? These are all solvable problems, but not six weeks before launch. If this is such a major issue, it should have been discussed far earlier in the process. At this point, maybe PBOT should just add a few trikes and see what happens. But I can’t see them fulfilling the promise of an accessible bike share without some trial and error.

soren
6 years ago
Reply to  Adam

i like trial and error. it’s my day job after all.

soren
6 years ago
Reply to  Adam

no one has suggested that the launch be delayed.

anon
anon
6 years ago
Reply to  soren

where did I say anything that would lead you to believe I “greatly underestimate the number of people who could be accommodated relatively inexpensively”, either in general or specifically pertaining to the Bikeshare discussion?

soren
6 years ago
Reply to  anon

apologies if i misinterpreted but the narrow scope of your comments came across that way to me.

F
F
6 years ago

Easy solution – design a bike that can be ridden by anyone, no matter what.

Rob Chapman
Rob Chapman
6 years ago
Reply to  F

I’m eagerly awaiting your design.

Chloe Eudaly
6 years ago
Reply to  F

That is easier said than done!

Chloe Eudaly
6 years ago
Reply to  Chloe Eudaly

But we do need to routinely employ universal design principles to accommodate the widest range of users possible.

Marshall Runkel
Marshall Runkel
6 years ago
Reply to  F

I love this idea. What if some revenue from the initial roll out of bike share could fund a design contest that would tap Portland’s incredibly innovative and capable bike community to come up with a design for the best adaptive bike or bikes in the world? Chloe is a huge fan of universal design! (http://www.universaldesign.com/)

What if developing this niche (even if every disability can’t be accommodated, as someone pointed out elsewhere Shaq is going to have hard time riding the bikes for people without disabilities) attracted visitors with disabilities and/or conventions of people with disabilities to Portland? Doesn’t it make sense to consider when we live in a place with a significant aging population with increasing mobility issues?

That’s the too often hidden opportunity in implementing inclusion. Focusing on markets that are not being served well, where the biggest disparities exist, offer the best possibilities for improvement.

Rob Chapman
Rob Chapman
6 years ago

I’m all for that idea. Just don’t limit your contest to Portland.

J_R
J_R
6 years ago
Reply to  F

Right. Four wheels for stability. Windshield, roof and windows for weather protection. Motor assist for those not strong enough. Extra seat for carrying children or elderly. What would you call that?

Alex Reedin
Alex Reedin
6 years ago
Reply to  J_R

A Virtue Cycles Pedalist? (Only 3 wheels… but still 🙂 )

http://www.virtuecycles.com/products/pedalist

MaxD
MaxD
6 years ago
Reply to  Alex Reedin

hand or foot powered!
http://twicycle.com/

John Liu
John Liu
6 years ago

This issue is ridiculous and this candidate just lost my vote.

Disabled persons use such a variety of cycles that it is impossible to accommodate them in a practical bikeshare system.

How does the disabled user get to the bikeshare station in the first place? Most likely by wheelchair. How can they use a bike if they have to leave a wheelchair behind and there is no wheelchair at the destination?

If the city is sued over this, either it will win after spending legal fees that won’t be available for bikeshare, or a couple dozen handcycles will get painted green and put at the bikeshare stations, where they will rust unused, until they are vandalized and then finish rusting.

Chloe Eudaly
6 years ago
Reply to  John Liu

Please read my post below. You clearly do not understand the wide range of users who stand to benefit from adapted bikes. And your argument against reasonable accommodation comes down to… logistics? Huh. That’s one excuse I didn’t think of.

Chloe Eudaly
6 years ago

Thanks for this well researched article, Jonathan. A little more background on my experience and perspective for your readers — I’ve been active in disability advocacy for over a decade. I’m a 2004 graduate of Partners in Policymaking — a yearlong intensive disability advocacy and leadership training program. I count among my early mentors some of Oregon’s fiercest advocates for disability rights who have done/are doing vital work at the local, state, and national level. Disability has always been a normal part of my life — my grandfather was paralyzed in an accident and was an early disability renegade, my older cousin has a significant physical disability and uses a power chair, and my son Henry has cerebral palsy and also uses a wheelchair.

Thanks also to those of you who have left comments supportive of accommodation and inclusion. I’m going to go post my entire response below since there seems to be some misunderstandings as to what I was suggesting. To be clear, I know that we cannot accommodate every user. For instance, I don’t expect BIKETOWN to have a bike that my son can safely ride because he requires customized support. The bikes I suggested are three wheel hand or foot pedaled bikes readily available through non-specialty retailers. These bikes would open up our bike share program to some of the roughly 7% of our population who experience significant mobility challenges, as well as people with other disabilities or conditions that either prevent them from balancing on two wheels or using their feet to pedal. As our population ages the demand will only increase.

If it surprises you to learn that such a significant number of people experience mobility challenges, it’s probably because you don’t encounter many of them in your daily life. Have you ever stopped to wonder why? Do you think it could have anything to do with how hard it is to navigate a city that wasn’t made for you? To endure multiple obstacles on what would be a simple excursion for an able bodied person? Or to know that your city and your community doesn’t care enough about your participation and well being to include you?

BIKETOWN as it stands is exclusion by design. How about instead of those custom wraps that “will reflect the city’s creative spirit” we just put “able bodied only” stickers on all 1000 bikes and just be honest about it. Because that’s what those of you who are against any kind of accommodation are saying. That people with disabilities do not matter, do not deserve to be accommodated, do not deserve to be included. That any kind of accommodation is unreasonable and an undue burden because the city could ONLY afford 1000 bikes and we need every single one of them to have two wheels and foot pedals. That sounds pretty unreasonable to me.

ORIGINAL REPLY TO JONATHAN:

“This is a matter of equity. We have a whole office devoted to it now, which aims to recognize and remove “systemic barriers to fair and just distribution of resources, access and opportunity, starting with issues of race and disability.” Yet there was seemingly zero consideration given to making our Biketown program accessible to people with disabilities. I find this statement from the website particularly galling, “BIKETOWN is a celebration of the Portland spirit: active, creative, inventive, and inclusive”, just not creative, inventive, or inclusive enough to include people with disabilities I guess.

The most obvious choices for adaptive bikes are three-wheeled foot and hand pedaled bikes. While it would be impossible to anticipate and accommodate every potential user, these two styles of bikes would greatly expand the range of people served by our bike share program. Roughly 7% of our population experiences a significant mobility challenge, but they’re not the only potential users. Adaptive bikes would also provide increased exercise, recreation, and transportation options for senior citizens, people with diminished strength due to illness or disability, and those with balance disorders. PBOT already provides three-wheeled recumbent trikes for its Senior Cyclist Program, why not include adaptive bikes in Biketown?

I tried to imagine all the excuses the City could come up with: the bikes are too expensive, they won’t fit on the existing rack system, they represent an increased liability, and/or they don’t believe there’s a demand/don’t want to “over serve” the disabled at the expense of the non-disabled (yes, this is an argument I’ve heard before). First of all, besides the fact that cost is not a legitimate argument for failing to provide a reasonable accommodation, these bikes are available from non-specialty manufactures and retail for under $1000. As for fitting in with the existing storage system, the Biketown bikes are “smart bikes” and can be secured anywhere. While a certain level of liability is inherent in bike share programs, I imagine PBOT is doing what needs to be done in order to minimize risk for the city. We need to presume competence in riders with disabilities — just like we’re doing with non-disabled riders. Finally, at the rate it’s going Portland is decades away from “over serving” people with disabilities, if ever. We’ll let you know when/if that happens.

I would think that Nike would be bending over backwards to accommodate people with disabilities considering how they’ve been targeting adaptive sports in the last few years, and the success of their FLYEASE adaptive shoe line. I urge PBOT and the City of Portland to do the right thing, show our disability community just how creative, inventive, and inclusive we can be, and avoid any potential lawsuits down the line by adding adaptive bikes to Biketown.”

JeffS
JeffS
6 years ago
Reply to  Chloe Eudaly

“cost is not a legitimate argument for failing to provide a reasonable accommodation”

Cost is the reason we don’t do everything.

Cost is the reason biketown already doesn’t serve everyone.
Cost is the reason there are homeless.
Cost is the reason the schools are going to fall on our kids heads if there’s an earthquake.

You can’t say cost doesn’t matter unless you already have the funding source. What are you proposing we defund to pay for the bikes?

And please… talk to someone about what a bikeshare bike costs, and why, before you use the cheapest adaptive bike on the market for your pricing models.

endo
endo
6 years ago
Reply to  JeffS

This is a person campaigning for a job to run our government! How anyone could take someone who says “cost is not a legitimate argument” seriously is a mystery to me. The whole job of a city commissioner in this town is to make choices on how to best use a limited resource (our tax money).

Gary B
Gary B
6 years ago
Reply to  JeffS

Chloe,

I really appreciate this discussion you started, and I think it’s important to consider. I’ll get to more of that later. But to echo JeffS:

“cost is not a legitimate argument for failing to provide a reasonable accommodation.”

I’m sorry, but the word “reasonable” is literally about cost. If cost weren’t justification, governments would be required to accommodate every disability in every service they provide. That’s obviously not the case, because it’s unreasonable to do so.

Chris I
Chris I
6 years ago
Reply to  Chloe Eudaly

Have you actually used a bike share system before? How many different cities? Have you researched how these systems are funded and maintained?

It really seems like you lack a fundamental understanding of how these systems work in the real world. The post above by anon nicely sums up the multitude of issues with your proposal.

Adam
6 years ago
Reply to  Chloe Eudaly

All these are fair points – for a bike rental service, which bike share is not. For bike share to work, there needs to be a high-density of bike coverage, which having only a few accessible bikes would not accomplish. What happens when the person wanting to rent a bike finds that the bike they need is two miles away? This is why I believe that an accessible bike share is a nice idea in theory, but in practice would be far too complicated to get to the point where it is an actual useful service.

However, that’s not to say that people with disabilities don’t deserve access to bikes. They absolutely do. I believe they would be better served by a centrally-located bike rental service that has a multitude of accessible bikes. That way, the bikes are all at a known and fixed location. This also provides a safe place to leave a mobility device, as well as professional to help the person into the bike. This bike shop could also offer drop-off service if the person is not downtown. These are all things that an unstaffed kiosk on the sidewalk could not provide.

Rob Chapman
Rob Chapman
6 years ago
Reply to  Adam

There’s a good business opportunity sitting here for someone with compassion and some capital.

I think the private sector could do a much more efficient job of matching adaptive bikes to individual riders than as Adam says, a kiosk can

soren
6 years ago
Reply to  Adam

bike share *IS* a distributed bike rental service. and while some people take advantage of its distributed nature, many do not. for example, ~90% of citibike trips are restricted to manhattan.

Adam
6 years ago
Reply to  soren

I think it’s worth it for PBOT to add in a few types of accessible bikes to the fleet and see what happens. Though the more I think about, the more I keep coming back to the idea that a staffed rental station would better serve the community. Were there any solutions proposed by Ms. Eudaly and other disability advocates? Curious to hear ideas other than “bike share should be accessible” which I assume most if not all of us would agree with.

nuovorecord
nuovorecord
6 years ago
Reply to  Chloe Eudaly

So using your example, if I want to use an adaptive bike, but there isn’t one close by or readily available, what then? Simply buying X number of adaptive bikes doesn’t really address the question of accessibility. There is a lot more detail to bikeshare that I don’t think you understand, Chloe. With all due respect, you should do a bit more homework before tossing out sound bites like this. There are plenty of other cities with bikeshare systems in place, and to my knowledge none of them have found a good, or even marginal accessibility solution. So it seems a bit of a reach to expect PBOT to have magically addressed this issue when others have failed.

endo
endo
6 years ago
Reply to  Chloe Eudaly

By and large those disabled bikes will sit unused, because only a small percentage of the population would use them. That means either the city has to buy a small number of those bikes and risk getting called out because they were all inconveniently located, or buy a large enough number to cover the city, in which case you have a large number of bikes sitting constantly unused.

So what you’re doing, whether you know it or not, is advocating for the destruction of bike sharing in Portland. You’re “mentioning” (more like threatening) law suits and proposing a solution that will result in bike share being too expensive to operate.

I think you’re going to lose a lot of votes from cyclists for this sort of nonsense. Shame on you.

Tony Jordan (Contributor)
Reply to  endo

These are the same type of arguments that the motoring majority wield to push back on bike infrastructure.

anon
anon
6 years ago
Reply to  Chloe Eudaly

Chloe,

You seem to assume that because there aren’t hand-cycles or tricycles, that PBOT has not thought about inclusion of persons with disabilities. Have you had any conversations with Steve Hoyt-McBeth or anyone else at PBOT about this? If so, it would be nice if you could share the content from those conversations.

If you have not spoken with PBOT, maybe you should do that before concluding that there was “zero consideration given to making our Biketown program accessible to persons with disabilities” and going very public with your critique of the program?

Could PBOT have some tricycles for adults at some stations? Maybe they could / should look into it given the aging demographics as you mention and the importance of universal design. Even in an ideal world, when cost is not a consideration, given the impossibility of staffing each station with trained employees in reasonable accommodation and additional mobility devices/support, universally designed tricycles would only provide access to a small number of the subset of the broader population of persons with disabilities.

But given the way you jumped on them, you’re not exactly winning friends at PBOT (full disclosure: I don’t work at PBOT and don’t work at the City).

Finally, I really wanted to vote for you, since despite what many may assume, Steve Novick has not been particularly supportive of or engaged on disability from a rights based perspective.

MaxD
MaxD
6 years ago
Reply to  Chloe Eudaly

I would love to some design exploration into creating a more universal, adaptable bike. Maybe it has a reconfigurable frame that could allow crankset to be rotated up for hand use, or has additional wheels that could be rotated down for stability? I literally do not have answers or suggestions, but there are many super talented bike designers, industrial engineers, prosthetic designers, product designers, etc in this town. If I were King of Nike, I would put a team together to see if a prototype Universal Bike could be built. This bike would become the default for everyone and would be much less exclusive than the current model!

Adam
6 years ago
Reply to  MaxD

Don’t expect Nike to do any leading on this. They are nothing more than an advertising partner. This needs to come from the city leadership.

mikeybikey
mikeybikey
6 years ago

it would be a big win for both Nike and the city if they could figure out a way to launch with some adaptive bikes. public bike share is still relatively young and im not sure if any other systems provide adaptive bikes, so this is an opportunity to come out ahead of the curve. some kind of trike with cargo capacity could also give families a bike share option as well.

MaxD
MaxD
6 years ago
Reply to  mikeybikey

mikeybikey,
I love your idea! Unfortunately, the City plans to launch this system with rules that exclude anyone under the age of 18 from using it, further excluding more citizens who might otherwise love to use it! I agree with you that it seems obvious to include kids of all ages, and people of all abilities to greatest extent possible!

axoplasm
6 years ago

A shocking lot of the comments here could be paraphrased as “can’t win, don’t try.”

1 trike > 0 trikes.

100 trikes = secret awesome.

Having more than a few token trikes might unleash a hidden wave of demand. Maybe not just from disabled riders if you want to be selfish about it. To haul kegs maybe, or if you just feel like pedaling with your arms for a change.

The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good.

Adam
6 years ago
Reply to  axoplasm

Sure, fair point. But I’d rather PBOT take the time to get this right instead of half-assing it by plopping a few trikes around town and calling it a day. People will get angry when they are promised accessibility, but doesn’t work well.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Reply to  axoplasm

Thanks, axoplasm. Yeah, if we say biketown works for 80% of people, and a dozen trikes covers another 10% of people, that’s a big win. Getting to 100% is expensive, but we can at least TRY.

I like comparing it to LIFT. There aren’t a ton of LIFT shuttles but it seems to help the community, right?

Adam
6 years ago

Great analogy. While LIFT is offered by TriMet, it is a distinct service from fixed bus lines. Perhaps instead of trying to make bike share work well for people with disabilities, we should be offering a similar but distinct bike rental service operating under the same umbrella of Biketown.

MaxD
MaxD
6 years ago
Reply to  axoplasm

Or dith the proposed design and make them all trikes! More people can ride a trike than can ride a 2-wheeled bike, right?

Todd Boulanger
Todd Boulanger
6 years ago

Another option to consider may be designing in secure bike parking (not short term racks) at some requested locations as part of the Biketown rollout Phase 1…thus cycle riders with a disability can choose to park their hand cycle and or wheelchair in a secure room depending which leg of their trip they are taking…this would be a more limited A to B to A trip much like car sharing started with… a start at a solution. These secure parking rooms could also provide secure parking for other bike riders who already own a bike, recharging of wheelchairs, helmet vending, etc.

[Shameless plug] Bikestation has been deploying prefab mini parking rooms and the design of these could be modified to park a few wheelchairs, hand cycles if the client requested it…vs. only parking just bikes:
http://home.bikestation.com/oceanside
http://home.bikestation.com/santa-barbara-mtd-lot-3

Biketown [or PBoT] give me a call.

JeffS
JeffS
6 years ago

“But officials said they would scale back the program significantly if it doesn’t prove self-sustaining to avoid committing more public funds.”

SD
SD
6 years ago

Starting an important discussion is great. Framing an important discussion in a manner that pits two marginalized groups against each other is not great.

It happens all the time and appears to come from an over-attachment to specific rhetorical conventions rather than a desire for progress.

Babygorilla
Babygorilla
6 years ago

First, that city personnel and the professional planners contracted for by the city to develop a bike share system do not appear to have anticipated or figured out a way to address ADA compliance is a pretty big failure in a series of missteps in this whole process.

As I understand it, the city is required to provide reasonable accommodation to satisfy ADA requirements. I don’t think reasonable accommodation requires bikes that are modified to accommodate every conceivable permutation of disability be immediately available at every single location bike share operates and it doesn’t appear Ms. Eudaly or others raising this issue want or demand that.

It appears that the DC bikeshare position is that their bikeshare is part of the larger metro transportation system which is ADA compliant. If that passes ADA muster, Portland could contract with Tri-Met to utilize the lift service.

If bike share isn’t complaint by piggybacking off of Tri-Met because its considered a separate transportation system, the other option is to purchase trikes, recumbents, tandems,etc and possibly contract with a pedicab operator that would cover a range of disabilities and operate those kind of like the Tri-Met lift service. Have those bikes in a central location and have 12 or 24 hour reservation to guarantee that an accommodating vehicle will be at a specific bike share location. It won’t cover every disability scenario and presents an inconvenience to users and possibly eliminates spur of the moment trips, but there are tradeoffs in reasonable accommodation.

As someone who doesn’t think bikeshare is a project worthy of public funds (I just don’t see a sufficient direct benefit for Portland residents), if it is being implemented with public funds and is a public service, it needs to be ADA compliant. If that means that the system needs to launch with x-number less “standard” bikes to budget for accommodating bikes or contracting with Tri-Met to pay for lift service, then that does not seem like the end of the world.

Adam
6 years ago
Reply to  Babygorilla

A basic fundamental of bike share is bike station density. You should be able to easily pick up a bike from anywhere and drop it off anywhere. And once you lock up the bike, someone else could take it. This fundamental breaks down if you are limited to an accessible bike and there are only a handful scattered around town. What you’re describing is a bike rental service, which is what we should instead be doing to accommodate people with disabilities. In the short term, PBOT could partner with local bike shops that already offer this service.

anon
anon
6 years ago
Reply to  Babygorilla

You wrote: “I don’t think reasonable accommodation requires bikes that are modified to accommodate every conceivable permutation of disability be immediately available at every single location bike share operates and it doesn’t appear Ms. Eudaly or others raising this issue want or demand that.”

Actually, reasonable accommodation is precisely specific to every individual’s needs. That is in the definition of reasonable accommodation.
reasonable accommodation would require a staff person to be present at every bike station with a wide range of adaptive devices to provide support to every and any potential user.

for various reasons mentioned in other comments this is not feasible.

Someone mentioned that PBOT could partner with a company that provides adapted bikes -and that is an idea worth looking into. Some people with some different types of disabilities could then rent them out and use them. That seems much more feasible, and it would be able PBOT to gather a baseline, i.e. understand how many people would use it.

Paul in the 'Couve
Paul in the 'Couve
6 years ago

I fear the way this issue is raised here, and how proponents are framing it is destructive to the wider purpose. I think it makes the focus too narrow. ADA vs. Bike share is the wrong focus. ADA vs. safe streets, livability and transportation access would be constructive. I do agree that forethought and planning of how bike share can work for those who may not be able to ride traditional bikes would be good, but the suggesting an ADA lawsuit vs. Bike share is likely to kill bike share and actually lead to less real improvement in the overall goals of both ADA and active transportation.

Bike share and the push to bring bike share to Portland is about much more than just one service. It is one component of the broader efforts of the cycling and livable cities movement. It is about street design, infrastructure, transportation choices and alternatives, decisions on where money is spent (10s millions for one autocentric intersection improvement with beg buttons for pedestrians vs. sidewalks and density). To focus on the micro level of “How Bike Share does not meet ADA” turns what should be an effort with a great deal of room for cooperation and mutual interest into an adversarial battle with no win for either side. It is an even worse fight than the public transit vs. bicycle battle. Everyone looses except those wealthy enough easily afford reliable cars, insurance, gas and increased taxes for more streets, traffic lights and freeway lanes.

Gary B
Gary B
6 years ago

I’m thoroughly disappointed in the sentiment reflected in what seems to be the majority of the comments on this issue.

“She lost my vote” for bringing this up? Really? It’s a valid concern. Are we really so reflexive and defensive about our bikeshare systems that we are unwilling to even *consider* the issue?

I also see dozens of comments that “we can’t accommodate every disability, it’d require too many different bikes, therefore we can’t do it.” Who said we have to, or should, accommodate every disability? ADA accommodations never accommodate every disability, that’s an absurd reaction.

How about this: could one modified bike design accommodate a substantial number of disabled users? If so, should we include some of those bikes? Where? It’s worth exploring. Now personally, I think there are some compelling arguments against the notion that are addressed in the comments. Chief among them: a few adapted bikes are not likely to be very useful in a system that requires ready access and distribution. Also, how a user would get to the bike and what they’d do with their equipment.

But my thoughts on the eventual outcome aside, it’s worth exploring. Shutting down the topic out of some fear that it will kill the whole thing is a response I’d expect out of a less thoughtful forum.

nuovorecord
nuovorecord
6 years ago
Reply to  Gary B

It IS a valid issue.

However, it was brought up in a way that doesn’t appear to be constructive. Was there actually a conversation that Chloe had with PBOT staff? Was their any research done regarding how other cities had tackled the issue? Was their any leadership shown?

Uhhh, no. So explain to me why I should vote for this person?

Marshall Runkel
Marshall Runkel
6 years ago
Reply to  nuovorecord

Here’s my understanding of how this became an issue: Chloe wrote post on her campaign FB page about being disappointed that bike share didn’t include adaptive bikes. Then, Jonathan contacted her about it because he was interested in writing a story about the issue. Chloe did as much outreach/research as she could do to be able to comment about the issue responsibly in less than 24 hours. While running a business, a campaign and being a single mom.

Where is the error? Should she have omitted any reference to ADA compliance?

I can assure you that the intent was not to foster a lose/lose bikes against disabilities debate. People are telling me that PBOT did more analysis than meets the eye on this issue. I’m not surprised to hear that because I know super smart, caring, dedicated people who work there.

I’d sincerely appreciate any and all advice about how to improve the campaign’s communications skills, but also know that sometimes real disagreements are unresolvable.

John Liu
6 years ago

I am not sure what your point is. Why does it matter if she had 24 hours or 24 minutes to respond to Jonathon? Her proposal is either sensible or it isn’t. She should have done the necessary research into the requirements and economics of Portland’s bikeshare system BEFORE complaining about it on her campaign FB page.

Marshall Runkel
Marshall Runkel
6 years ago
Reply to  John Liu

I didn’t have a point, I posed a couple of questions.

I’m not sure I agree with your critique that the campaign should have done more comprehensive research before putting up a FB post, but will consider the feedback.

Stay cool this weekend!

anon
anon
6 years ago
Reply to  Gary B

I agree with Nuovo here.

She didn’t lose my vote for bringing it up (it’s actually something I care a lot about; and I would love to see PBOT and the City do more to ensure persons with disabilities are accommodated and included in programs, services, etc.).

The problem is how she went about it.

Chris I
Chris I
6 years ago
Reply to  Gary B

When a potential candidate states that “cost is not a consideration” they will lose my vote. These people are in charge of your tax dollars. I might disagree with someone on their priorities, but I can’t elect someone that doesn’t care about budgeting.

People are literally dying in east Portland because of inadequate infrastructure and she would take transportation dollars and use them to buy adapted bikes for a tiny percentage of the city population.

JeffS
JeffS
6 years ago
Reply to  Gary B

Had she raised this as a standalone issue, I expect that most here would have supported her.

Even the commenters who seem to be actively supporting her have pointed out that the accommodation wouldn’t really resemble or fit within the current bikeshare system.

Steve B.
6 years ago
Reply to  Gary B

Well said, thank you Gary.

Esther
Esther
6 years ago
Reply to  Gary B

I agree, well said Gary. The bikeshare project managers have already demonstrated they’re effective at looking at equity issues and engaging different communities to problem solve some of questions of access (disclosure: I know them and am predisposed to think they’re extremely competent :). If it is true some people have brought up issues of disability access and they haven’t been addressed, it is great that the public has been engaged on this issue and there is an opportunity to discuss removing some barriers to use of bikeshare. It’s worth noting that this dovetails nicely with the low income access programs they have worked out and that a significant number of people with disabilities live downtown in public housing.

Kyle Banerjee
6 years ago

For this to be practical at all, people need to decide what objectives we’re trying to solve and then figure out which disabilities they might be able to accommodate. Putting some trikes out may not be a bad idea as these can serve the same needs as the other bike share bikes for people with certain mobility issues.

But it’s reality challenged to think people are going to leave their own adaptive technology bike rack so they can take a super heavy bike out in downtown traffic, tracks, and on slopes. Given how many able bodied cycling advocates whine about Portland riding conditions and how the physicality of riding prevents so many very able bodied people from cycling, I wonder how many people who need trikes and adaptive cycles are chomping at the bit to ride in those same conditions.

This conversation has made me wonder if we might have a solution in search of a problem. There are a lot of adaptive cycles and trikes in the area, but there aren’t too many tooling around on busy urban streets — mine being one of the very few you’ll see until you get further out. There’s probably a reason for that.

pdx2wheeler
pdx2wheeler
6 years ago

How does something similar like car2go handle ADA issues? Do all their cars have modifications available so individuals without the use of their legs can be accommodated? I know that individuals with spinal cord injuries need to operate the gas and brakes using their hands. Is that possible with the current car2go system?

Chris I
Chris I
6 years ago
Reply to  pdx2wheeler

They don’t. I guess that’s a topic for another Facebook post…

pdx2wheeler
pdx2wheeler
6 years ago
Reply to  Chris I

Okay, sounds good! We can hold motor vehicles to a higher standard later then… For now lets focus on just holding bikes to it alone.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
6 years ago
Reply to  pdx2wheeler

The law may differentiate between a private company and a public service like bike share. I honestly don’t know the answer to what should be done, but I do note a lack of proposals that are both workable and useful.

Altaira Hatton
Altaira Hatton
6 years ago
Reply to  pdx2wheeler

Hand controls are available.

Robert Burchett
Robert Burchett
6 years ago

Wow, that ws yards of comment with no mention of the NE handcycle (association?) which seems to be a thing more or less carried by a guy named Ian. Two people I know who had a (thankfully) temporary physical limitation were supplied with handcycles and even tech support! for as long as they needed them, for little or no money. This is a case of volunteers, grants, and the private sector being way out front.

Point: instead of having various kinds of adaptive bikes all over town, have a resource for people who can’t ride average bikes to get what they need. I think Adam H. is right on with this one: requiring bike share to be all things to all people, all over town, means it will never pencil out. But, if the dux can get by with one less uniform, that’s a lot of handcycles.

Robert Burchett
Robert Burchett
6 years ago

Oregon Disability Sports, and Ian Jaquiss. This is from an article on Bike Portland, which I could have searched for before posting. The name references Sport, but the people I know who used it mainly had the bikes for personal transportation.

I’m for people having access to human powered personal mobility. Each person has different requirements, some more challenging than others. What bike a person can use is way more complicated than, what is the seat height?

Imagine balancing a fleet of 3? 5? kinds of bikes and trikes. Not impossible, but very difficult. What if I spend 30 minutes adjusting a generic trike to my particular size and ability, go to the grocery store, come out and find no trikes on hand?

Seems like a good place for means-tested financing or provision of needed gear on an individual basis. I’ve seen what a small organization with limited resources and staff can to do to set people up with transportation, in both cases a hand-powered trike. A small fraction of the cost of Portland’s bike share program could fund outreach, gear, and support for many people.

Martha
Martha
6 years ago

Got the cars of the streets. That would help a lot by providing room for all the different types of bike and riders.

kelly tadlock
kelly tadlock
6 years ago

If I am being asked as a taxpayer to fund this I would like those funds to be used to provide SOME accessible options such as http://www.berkelbike.com/
This attaches to a wheelchair and allows the rider to use both hands and feet

kelly tadlock
kelly tadlock
6 years ago

No arms? No problem! A road bike for an armless cyclist. | Different Spokes
Michael Trimble is a cyclist. We met Michael about a year ago. He’d recently moved to Portland, Oregon and was looking for somebody to build his dream bike. In 2013,…
DIFFERENT SPOKES
Different Spokes
9 March ·
New post (No arms? No problem! A road bike for an armless cyclist.) has been published on Different Spokes

kelly tadlock
kelly tadlock
6 years ago

There are other cycling devices that attach to a wheelchair A Firefly, A Dragonfly etc . There are many adaptable devices that could be used to attach a whhelchair and make this tax payers program inclusive to MANY more persons with disabilitys. There are bikes that have an attachment for an ablebodied say mother or Dad to transport there wheelchair using child or parent

Katie b
Katie b
6 years ago

Ableism! Couldn’t make up a better example if you tried. Didn’t consider it at all. One in nine people have some kind of disability. Is bicycle sharing not for them?

Throw down a blanket of barriers, then say, “no demand” when nobody disabled shows up.

Trikes have all kinds of virtues, including the ability to haul bulkier items. It is an example of privilege if you never have to haul anything bulky.

kelly tadlock
kelly tadlock
6 years ago

In another era there would have been these same justifications to exclude people of color from an all white bike program. I.E. ” Let them get their own program… Its too exspensive to include them etc.

kelly tadlock
kelly tadlock
6 years ago

I sometimes use TriMET in my wheelchair there is a lift on Trimet not every disabled person can use this still it is provided in an attempt to try to reasonably accomodate a person with a disability … IS it perfect? No its not, but It is improved with every rider with a disability using it and providing feedback Does every person with a Disability get to get on the bus? No sometimes the seats are taken so we have to wait. This is the same phenomena for ablebodied riders if the bus is full they must wait for another. When enough feedback is given for additional buses then TriMet considers adding another bus. Are Lifts on buses exspensive? Does it take extra time for Diabled to board Yes and Yes. Is there problem solving needed ? Yes
This is no different from this BikeTown issue. TriMet does not say well this is too hard so just get your own bus people with Disabilities. TriMet deals with it because People with Disabilities are not second class citizens …we pay taxes.

Adam
6 years ago
Reply to  kelly tadlock

What does a fully-accessible bike share program look like to you? Curious to hear your thoughts on this.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Reply to  kelly tadlock

Thanks, Kelly. It’s nice to get your POV and experience.

kelly tadlock
kelly tadlock
6 years ago

First it looks like a whole lot of discussion with persons with Disabilities
Second it could be done in increments by first providining some Trikes that attach to wheelchairs
Third getting feedback Trial and error what works what doesn’t
Before my injury I rode a bike for 30 years in Portland I was selfemployed I loved the freedom and health benefits from riding. I have learned that I can do the things I use to love to do but in a differnt way.
The biggest obstacle for people like me are the stereotypes and abelism out there
Lastly there needs to be a will to have a fully accessible bike share program

Adam
6 years ago
Reply to  kelly tadlock

Sounds like a great idea. The city really should have brought this up during the long planning process so that we are not having this conversation six weeks before launch. Though at this point, it doesn’t seem that unreasonable to add a few trikes to the fleet and see what happens.

kelly tadlock
kelly tadlock
6 years ago
Reply to  Adam

Yes THANK YOU! it should not be an afterthought to plan for accessability