Gravel - Cycle Oregon

How’s the e-scooter launch going?

Posted by on July 26th, 2018 at 11:09 pm

PBOT’s cute graphic about the scooter launch looks like it belongs in a preschool class.

(In case you haven’t noticed, BikePortland has been in vacation mode since last Friday and will continue to be until middle of next week. That means I’ve been out-of-the-loop on the e-scooter launch (and other things) and I’m up late posting while everyone else is asleep.)

How’s the e-scooter launch going so far Portland?

All I’ve heard so far is that someone at PBOT made a very poor decision about a Twitter post and that the Willamette Week is looking to cover how annoying and dangerous they expect the scooters to be. Oh, and it looks like our friends at TriMet are big fans.

I’ve been a believer in these things since the beginning, so I’m eager to see how it’s all shaking out once I get home next week.

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I realize so far just two companies — Bird and Skip — have been given the green light and that both of them have yet to activate their full fleets. A third company, Lime, will also join the fun on Friday. The pilot program will have up to 2,500 scooters on the street at any one time, so I don’t think we’ll be able to judge their impact until they are all up and running.

Even so, I’m curious! What’s the vibe so far? Has the sky fallen? Is Portland ruined forever? Or are scooters the street saviors I hope they’ll be? Would love to hear your thoughts and updates from the streets.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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

140 Comments
  • Sam Churchill July 27, 2018 at 6:26 am

    I rode the Bird scooter on July 27. I LIKE it. Pretty slick. Easy to use.

    1. Download the app from https://www.bird.co/
    2. Scan or input (a) your drivers license number, (b) a credit card number, and (c) scan the scooter’s bar code on its handle bar.
    3. It automatically unlocked the scooter. Ready to go.

    You give it a kick with your feet, get going then twist the throttle. It topped out at 15 mph, a speed that seemed just right. I’m 69 yrs old and it didn’t take me a minute to master. My ride lasted 8 minutes and I travelled .8 miles (about the distance to the Max Line from Hayden Island). It cost me $2.05. I guess you can use BIRDPDX for a free $5 on the first ride.

    When I was done with the ride I clicked the “lock” button on the phone app, and it was ready for someone else. The scooter was on Killingsworth and Interstate. I found it using the app map. I hope a cluster will be assigned to Hayden Island, where I live. There are NO Biketown bikes in Kenton, St Johns, Bridgeton, Delta Park, or Expo Center, since it’s outside Biketown’s service area.

    Bird uses the Xiaomi M365 electric scooter ($500 on Amazon). http://a.co/bElAhy1 I weigh 300 lbs, and it worked okay for me.

    In November, they may issue longer permits to scooter companies. Goat Scooters will let anyone buy a scooter ($600-$1200) then keep the profits (less 15%). I think that could be a good business for hotels and the Jantzen Beach mall on the island, since there’s no Max service here.

    https://www.bird.co/
    https://www.limebike.com/
    https://skipscooters.com/
    https://www.ridegoat.com/

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    • Johnny Bye Carter July 27, 2018 at 9:14 pm

      “I weigh 300 lbs”

      You violated the rental agreement.

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  • John Liu July 27, 2018 at 6:40 am

    I thought scooters are supposed to be deployed to East Portland? No Bird scooters there per app.

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    • Bjorn July 27, 2018 at 8:11 am

      Agreed, day one I never saw a single scooter east of 50th, and now day 2 there are a couple but I wonder if that isn’t just because someone rode them out further. It appears to me that they haven’t actually deployed anywhere near 20% of the fleet to Cully/East Portland. The city needs to be watching that going forward.

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  • Schrauf July 27, 2018 at 6:59 am

    Seems like almost a nonstarter with the all-ages helmet law. It’s one thing owning a scooter and using a helmet, but for a “last mile connection” type device, that’s not going to work in practice for most people.

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    • Al July 27, 2018 at 7:41 am

      Wait, what? Since when does Oregon require all ages to use a helmet on a scooter? Is this something that passed and hasn’t gone into effect yet?

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      • Gary B July 27, 2018 at 7:50 am

        It was a condition of the permits that Portland granted.

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        • Al July 27, 2018 at 8:11 am

          Thank you. I was not aware of this.

          So the operator could lose their permit if users don’t wear helmets? Or will users on only rented scooters get cited? This doesn’t make any sense to me.

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        • Bjorn July 27, 2018 at 8:15 am

          Actually it is state law, for some unknown reason the state has made separate rules that are not the same for bicycles, electric bikes, and electric scooters. It really seems like the rules should at least be identical for e-bikes and scooters although I fear that they will just make the e-bike rules more restrictive so I am hesitant to complain too loudly. Here is a link to a handy guide that explains the state regulations: https://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/Forms/DMV/6619.pdf

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          • Dan A July 27, 2018 at 8:35 am

            Looks like it is also against the law to carry a passenger, ride on the sidewalk (good luck traveling on Powell, etc), ride in crosswalks, or travel faster than 15mph. Right, so you are supposed to take the lane with a max speed of 15mph. Got it.

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            • Andrew Kreps July 27, 2018 at 9:22 am

              Well, with a 200lb weight limit having two people on there is going to be tough.

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              • Dan A July 27, 2018 at 10:35 am

                We’ll never know.

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            • Bjorn July 27, 2018 at 10:27 am

              It is actually illegal to operate an electric scooter on Powell or any other street with a speed limit over 25 that doesn’t have bike lanes (sandy, 82nd etc). Perhaps if this is successful it will lead to more pressure to add safer facilities to some of these main arteries. This piece has not been communicated very well.

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          • Al July 27, 2018 at 8:56 am

            I am surprised at the difference in rules between an electric scooter and a Segway. The Segway is bigger. The riders are higher up on them. Segways don’t require helmets, can be ridden on sidewalks and crosswalks? This is very weird. It does seem like the e-scooter rules are a last minute CYA job.

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          • Gary B July 27, 2018 at 10:48 am

            Thanks for the correction, I had read the statutes defining “electric assisted mobility device” and “electric assisted scooter” incorrectly. It is certainly bizarre that of scooters, segways, bikes, and e-bikes, the only one requiring a helmet is the scooters.

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            • BradWagon July 27, 2018 at 1:00 pm

              Of those 4 I would be most concerned about the safety of my head while riding a scooter.

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          • Steve Scarich July 29, 2018 at 11:18 am

            I don’t know about Portland, but over here in Bend, helmet laws are not enforced at all. You can see groups of kids on bikes, scooters, whatever riding no helmet, and cops do not even react. I have even been at bmx kid/car accidents, and the cops and EMT’s let the helmetless kids ride away after checking them out.

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          • PAUL HANRAHAN August 2, 2018 at 8:52 pm

            Wow, there is a major contradiction between scooters and segways. One (scooter) requires helmets, the other doesnt. One can go on sidewalks (segway), the other not. And both can go 15mph! A bit of a contradiction, I would say..

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty August 3, 2018 at 3:58 am

              On one you look like a dork; on the other a bro. The contradictions abound.

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        • Kittens July 30, 2018 at 2:34 am

          So now that we have seemingly abdicated all sense of civic control (see: Airbnb, Lyft, Uber et. al) to our silicon valley vc overlords, can we also crowdsource enforcement?

          I would gladly volunteer to issue citations for “ridesharing” drivers improperly double parking, people not wearing helmets and leaving scooters all over creation.

          Seemingly you can do whatever you want as long as you have almost no employees and rely on a website. Cool.

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      • was carless July 29, 2018 at 11:35 pm

        According to state law, all motorized scooters require a helmet to operate. These electric scooters are in the same category as a 35cc gas scooter. No plates or drivers license required, but helmet is.

        https://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/Forms/DMV/6619.pdf

        These must be new vehicle categories, because the last time I looked them up there was no scooter, segway, or electric bicycle assisted category.

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        • Jillian August 2, 2018 at 10:48 pm

          I believe it actually is required to have a drivers license. At least that is what I saw when I was reading the disclaimers prior to riding one.

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  • Jim Lee July 27, 2018 at 7:16 am

    Down market Segways

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    • Dan A July 27, 2018 at 8:37 am

      Except that Segways don’t require a helmet, and are allowed on sidewalks and in crosswalks.

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  • Christopher of Portland July 27, 2018 at 7:38 am

    I rode from downtown, over the Tilikum, and into inner southeast. It would’ve cost $4.45 without the free credit. It’s kinda fun but even the big tires aren’t quite soft enough for me. My knee was aching a bit after the ride. There definitely wasn’t enough power to get me up hills without providing some kick assistance. On smoother, flatter surfaces it was enjoyable.

    Biketown would’ve been much cheaper for the same ride. TriMet would’ve been potentially a few minutes quicker, assuming no wait for the bus (unlikely). And 55 cents more would mean I get to do all the bus and MAX riding I want for the rest of the night.

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  • I wear many hats July 27, 2018 at 8:43 am

    What ever happened to walking that last 1/2 mile? Our society is quickly circling the drain. Yay for fewer cars, but come on now. Walk a little.

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    • Middle of The Road Guy July 27, 2018 at 8:46 am

      My sentiment exactly. How much more lazy can we get?

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    • Al July 27, 2018 at 9:12 am

      It takes 10 minutes to walk a half a mile at a good pace.

      It takes a minute to rent an e-scooter, 3 minutes to ride a half a mile and 12 minutes to work for the $2.45 cent ride if you make $15 an hour (rounding to account for taxes). So…. progress.

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      • bikeninja July 27, 2018 at 9:33 am

        I assume you have read Ivan Illich as that is the same argument he makes about cars.

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        • Al July 28, 2018 at 2:38 pm

          I have not read Illich but I’m familiar with his argument. I didn’t think of it at the time I wrote this. I must have internalized it to the point where I didn’t think of the source anymore.

          I’m not against e-scooters, or even e-scooter rental systems. I do hate how the word “share” is used to obscure an overt profit motive however. Rideshare, bikeshare and now e-scootershare systems aren’t about sharing, not even in a timeshare type of way. But they’re not about profit in the traditional sense of the word either because few have turned a profit so far. They seem to be pyramid schemes for venture capitalists. Operating a seeming business allows them to elude laws against pyramid schemes. Uber has been around for a decade so maybe they’re just another year or two from making a profit? Kind of like Amazon?

          I do like Biketown however and I would like for the Portland metro area to have a healthy bike rental system. My worry is that e-scooters and competing bike rental systems may ruin the party for everyone because these are not particularly high profit margin operations. What happens when these competing systems start to erode Biketown while also struggling themselves? How does Portland uninvite them? I don’t want to see everything brought down because too many operators got started here.

          Disclosure: I own bicycles but also Biketown several times a year. I have yet to e-scooter but probably will given the opportunity to try it out.

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      • BradWagon July 27, 2018 at 12:56 pm

        Why does time need to be brought into the convo?

        BREAKING: Time passes while doing things!

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      • NC August 7, 2018 at 4:33 pm

        You are assuming that people don’t have disposable income after the standard number of hours they are supposed to work. There is not an explicit need to work more hours to pay for the scooter journey unless your bank balance is at zero or below.

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    • Rich Fox July 31, 2018 at 1:53 pm

      That’s crazy-talk. The average pedestrian would need 10 minutes to walk 1/2 mile. NOBODY has 10 minutes (strong sarcasm).

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  • Schrauf July 27, 2018 at 9:05 am

    Other than the demo in Pioneer Square I’ve only seen one scooter in use downtown as the rider was grazing the front end of a car on Taylor after he shot out into the road, wrong way & downhill on a one-way cross street, and the driver slammed on the brakes to minimize the collision.

    God I sound like a cager complaining about “those crazy bikers”. I’m sure most of the scooter users are riding reasonably, although it does seem like they might attract a lot of idiots.

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  • Clicky Freewheel July 27, 2018 at 9:30 am

    Been fine so far. I’ve only seen a few people riding them and nothing blocking sidewalks or bike lanes yet. I anticipate this will not be the case when all 2,500 are in use, however.

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  • Andrew Kreps July 27, 2018 at 9:40 am

    Those birds are seriously fun. I rode my bike to BonB, then spent a bit of time trying to find a Bird. Much like the early Biketown implementation, the first 4 locations on the map did not have scooters. So, I hopped on a Biketown and finally found one in a nest by Wells Fargo.

    I rode the scooter down 4th and back to the Hawthorne, and it was a blast! Anyone skeptical about its utility should take one for a spin. They may be slower than a bike, but after pushing off I didn’t put a foot down once. I fully plan to ride it again.

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  • soren July 27, 2018 at 10:58 am

    PBOT made a very poor decision about a Twitter post

    Considering that the tweet was not deleted and is receiving positive national media attention, I don’t think PBOT regrets it at all.

    And despite PBOT’s suggestion that I’m a “tech bro”, I hate the fact that PBOT and the city council are so oriented to capitalism that they cannot fund public bike- and scooter-share systems. Depending on the “largesse” of venture capital “unicorns” and predatory multinational corporations is a poor decision.

    In fact, this is what I posted on FB the day before my infamous “tech bro” tweet:

    “It annoys me that these are being funded by venture capital but status quo car culture is even more capitalist. (“Fordism” is one of the major mechanism by which capitalism came to dominate our culture.)”

    https://image.ibb.co/h7LAYo/image.png (not posting a direct link to keep the person whose timeline I posted on anonymous)

    I should also note that I do not identify as a bro and my pronouns are they and them.

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    • Middle of the Road Guy July 27, 2018 at 4:12 pm

      Oy Vay….or Oy They?

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    • Carl July 27, 2018 at 10:11 pm

      PBOT can’t delete tweets since their tweets are considered public record.

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  • Scott Wanhala July 27, 2018 at 11:09 am

    So the pros: you live in a city with crummy public transportation aka most of the U.S. You have slow to react city planners to get multi-mode transport options in place. The free market pushes scooters and bike share, not bad. This launched in Detroit, ideal location as the public transit there is slow and not throughly connected.

    Portland through? Come on.
    The bad: Does anyone walk 1/2 or even 1/8 of a mile anymore? Nice to have choices, rather its a battery powered floatation device so you no longer need your limbs to swim. I am waiting for the battery powered fork and spoon to feed me for every meal. Let me know when thats available for $2 a minute.

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  • TonyT
    TonyT July 27, 2018 at 11:13 am

    How is the helmet thing supposed to be enforced? Is it a “we have to tell you to use one but we don’t actually have any power to enforce it”? It’s not a law so the cops aren’t involved.

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    • Bjorn July 27, 2018 at 11:19 am

      Oregon state law specifically requires helmets for electric scooters, which is why the city is communicating that out. I believe the fine for riding one without a helmet is $25 dollars, and will be forgiven on the first offense if you can show you have obtained a helmet. This is clearly an unnecessary law that will be enforced erratically and potentially in a discriminatory fashion, but it is currently the law.

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      • Tom Hardy July 27, 2018 at 11:39 am

        I saw 4 scooters while riding my bike today. None of the scooter riders were wearing helmets!
        3 of the 4 scooters were on the esplanade.

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        • mark July 27, 2018 at 2:45 pm

          Illegal to ride in parks, including the Esplanade. Jerks.

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    • Dan A July 27, 2018 at 12:01 pm

      Suppose you’re cruising down a greenway and a speeding driver runs you down, leading to massive medical bills. If you weren’t wearing a helmet you will lose out on a portion of any possible settlement.

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      • soren July 27, 2018 at 12:21 pm

        “you will lose out on a portion of any possible settlement.”

        please stop making things up. there is no law that states this.

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        • Emily Johnson July 27, 2018 at 12:34 pm

          Yes, there is a law that states this. In Oregon, if the plaintiff is more than 50% at fault, they cannot recover in a negligence lawsuit. (See ORS 31.600) If they are still able to sue, their recovery is reduced by their amount of fault. This absolutely comes into play in settlement negotiations.

          As far as helmets (and seatbelts for car crashes), there is actually a specific law that allows evidence of the plaintiff’s lack of seatbelt or helmet use to be suppressed to avoid bias from the jury, in exchange for a 5% reduction of damages. See ORS 31.760 (this is about seatbelts, but it has been extended to helmets)

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          • soren July 27, 2018 at 3:56 pm

            The law you cited in no way mandates that a victim not wearing a helmet has an automatic loss of liability.

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            • Dan A July 27, 2018 at 4:48 pm

              Neither does my comment.

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              • soren August 1, 2018 at 10:22 pm

                Yes it does:

                “If you weren’t wearing a helmet you will lose out on a portion of any possible settlement.”

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              • Dan A August 2, 2018 at 7:55 am

                It is my opinion that if you are breaking the law by scootering without a helmet, you WILL lose out on a portion of your damages. It is beyond unlikely that a judge or jury will award you full damages while you are breaking the law and, in their eyes, contributing to your injuries. Your damages will be reduced, or you will be coerced into a settlement. This is my opinion, backed up by the opinions and experience of many legal experts.

                You are correct that there is no law that guarantees you will lose out on a portion of your damages. But, in my opinion, there is a 100% chance of this happening.

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            • Emily Johnson July 29, 2018 at 11:08 pm

              The law I cited refers to comparative fault generally, and does not specifically enumerate the type of conduct that is considered negligent.

              A plaintiff’s conduct is absolutely relevant when assessing the value of a lawsuit, and it will come into play in settlement negotiations. This includes whether they were wearing a helmet, whether they were intoxicated, whether they were distracted, etc.

              In fact, the whole helmet issue (and seatbelt issue with cars) is such a huge issue that there is a large body of caselaw governing the admissibility of helmet evidence, and that will impact the value of a settlement.

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              • soren August 1, 2018 at 10:25 pm

                once again, my post was in response to the absolute statement that:

                “If you weren’t wearing a helmet you will lose out on a portion of any possible settlement.”

                Do you or do you not disagree that it is incorrect to make this claim?

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          • was carless July 29, 2018 at 11:45 pm

            Additionally, the person ran over will receive a $25 fine from the Portland police for not wearing a helmet.

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      • Dan A July 27, 2018 at 12:38 pm

        “please stop making things up”? Do you have a bone to pick with me in particular?

        Anyway, I believe it depends on interpretation.

        “Comparative Negligence” Rules Apply

        In Oregon, you may recover damages even if you were partly to blame for causing the accident, but you must not be more than 50% at fault to do so. According to the modified comparative negligence standard, any damages that are awarded will be reduced in proportion to the degree that you were at fault. For example, if you were 10% to blame for the accident and the other driver was 90% at fault, you may file a lawsuit, but an award of $1000 will be reduced by $100.

        Limits on Damages

        In Oregon, there is no cap on economic damages like medical expenses and lost future earnings. However, the state does limit some non-economic damages to $500,000. Additionally, the failure to use your seatbelt could reduce your award by up to 5%.

        https://statelaws.findlaw.com/oregon-law/oregon-car-accident-compensation-laws.html

        I think it would be pretty easy for a defense attorney to argue that by failing to wear a legally-mandated helmet, you were somewhat responsible for your injuries.

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        • soren July 27, 2018 at 3:51 pm

          “If you weren’t wearing a helmet you will lose out on a portion of any possible settlement.”

          So you’ve moved from an absolute statement to maybe, possibly, if the jury agrees AND the assessed liability is more than 50%.

          And I do have a bone to pick with your repeated claims that violation of some trivial and unrelated law (e.g. mandatory sidepath law) necessarily means that a person biking will be held liable if someone driving illegally hits and/or injures them. As I requested last time, I’d love to see you provide a single example of this.

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          • Dan A July 27, 2018 at 4:58 pm

            Okay: you MAY lose out on a portion of any possible settlement.

            It’s pretty hard to find examples of how this actually works out in specific cases. How has the civil case worked out for Tamar Monhait, or Mark Angeles, who were both partially blamed for their own deaths?

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            • Steve Scarich July 30, 2018 at 2:11 pm

              I have a ‘sort of’ example. I was riding my bike sans helmet (please, no lectures) and was hit from behind by a car. In my discussions with his insurance company, they never asked me if I was wearing a helmet, and it was not mentioned on the police/accident report. The insurance company was very reasonable, after they realized that I was no pushover, and I received what I felt was fair compensation for my injuries and bike damage.

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              • Dan A August 1, 2018 at 1:57 pm

                That’s because lack of helmet while bicycling cannot be used against you to reduce damages, per this very specific statute:

                https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/814.489

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            • soren August 1, 2018 at 10:30 pm

              So once again you have nothing and resort to hypothetical scaremongering.

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              • Dan A August 2, 2018 at 7:13 am

                I don’t have “nothing”, I have numerous sources that explain how comparative negligence works. IHere are a few:

                http://www.smlawca.com/fault-jaywalker-gets-hit-vehicle/

                In comparative negligence, however, the injured party carries some of the faults for the accident and will collect a reduced settlement that reflects the level of responsibility they hold. A good example is if a driver was texting when a jaywalker stepped out in front of the car and an accident occurs. In a bid to get compensated, the pedestrian sues the motorist for damages, and a jury decides that the driver bears 60% fault for the accident, while the pedestrian bears 40%. The pedestrian will receive a settlement for damages minus his or her proportion of the blame.

                https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/what-if-a-pedestrian-is-hit-while-jaywalking.html

                Pure comparative negligence has no fault threshold. As long as the plaintiff wasn’t 100% at fault, they will be able to recover at least something. For example, a pedestrian walks through an intersection that has posted “no crossing” signs and the pedestrian gets hit by a driver. If a court concludes that the pedestrian is 95% at fault and the pedestrian suffers $100,000 in medical bills, the pedestrian can only legally recover $5,000 from the driver.

                https://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/hit-by-a-car-while-jaywalking-lawsuit.html

                More courts use a theory of comparative fault. Under this theory, the jury would be instructed to look at the relative degrees of fault and assign each party a percentage.

                For example, suppose a jury finds that the driver was 80% at fault, and the jaywalking pedestrian was 20% at fault. The jaywalking pedestrian would then be able to recover 80% of his damages (medical expenses, pain and suffering, etc.).

                In such cases, it is up to the jury to decide exactly what percentage of fault each party bears, and modify their award accordingly. If the pedestrian was jaywalking, it is very unlikely that they would find that he or she bears none of the fault. The exact percentage of fault borne by each side would depend on the facts of each case.

                Do you have any specific examples of cases where the plaintiff received 100% of damages while being partially at fault? I think it will be impossible to find one. Most of these cases end in a settlement rather than a verdict, with damages reduced as a result of any negligence (or perceived negligence) on the part of the victim.

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              • Dan A August 2, 2018 at 7:18 am

                Okay, I found an example:

                https://www.millerandzois.com/recent-pedestrian-crash-verdicts-and-settlement.html

                An elderly woman was walking on Stoneybrook Drive in Sherman Oaks. While attempting to cross a driveway apron, she was struck by an SUV that was backing out. The car consequently ran over her right ankle and fractured parts of her lower leg. … Defense counsel contended that the plaintiff was comparatively negligent as she did not see the SUV before the impact and was wearing a Bluetooth headphone in her ear. … A Los Angeles County jury found the defendant 72.5% at fault for the accident and the plaintiff 27.5% at fault. After comparative liability offset, the plaintiff was able to recover $161,890.83 of the initial $223,297.70 award.

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  • Joseph July 27, 2018 at 11:26 am

    I expect the results to be somewhere between “sky falling” and “savior.”

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  • glenn f July 27, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    What’s to stop people from just picking these things up and stripping these things of there batteries and stuff in a dark ally?

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  • PD July 27, 2018 at 1:14 pm

    Yes they are pretty fun. It was worth a quick spin to give it a try. But Its expensive! Going any farther then a few blocks can rack up quite the charge.
    These seem Ok for now, but I expect once two companies with full fleets trying to outdo each other, the streets sidewalks and bike lanes will get overrun. I’m a fan today, but I can’t see how our launch will be any different then every other city who has tried them then subsequently banned them. Likely won’t be a fan in a week.

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  • Cory Poole July 27, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    I hope this results in the State of Oregon finally giving a legal vehicular status to scooters and other freewheel vehicles. The helmet requirement also needs to be removed. E-scoots need to be held to the same standards as bicycles but should not be required to go further.

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  • GlowBoy July 27, 2018 at 2:13 pm

    I’m not in Portland at the moment, but coincidentally our Lime scooters also launched in Minneapolis this week. Bird scooters have been available in Mpls and St. Paul for 2-3 weeks, and I think both have also launched in a handful of suburbs.

    At least in the core of the city, I’m almost constantly seeing people riding these scooters, even though not that many are available. I think a lot of people are checking them out and enjoying the joyrides, since they’re a fun new toy. So today it was my turn to try one out.

    I’d ridden LimeBikes before, in Seattle, so I was familiar with the program. Already had the Lime app and account, so it was just a matter of finding a scooter using the app, scanning the QR code and riding away. Actually, giving it a couple kicks, then riding it away. A few observations about the riding experience.
    – Acceleration isn’t super fast, which is probably a good thing.
    – The large rubber tires handle curb bumps, small potholes and other urban pavement problems pretty readily. I already have a Razor A5 (large-wheel, adult size) scooter, and these seem noticeably more capable on rough stuff. Still, I’d hate to misjudge and crash one of these at speed.
    – Speed is deceptive once you really get going. If the speedometer is accurate, mine topped out at around 18 mph on flat ground, dropping only about 1mph in a significant headwind. At first I thought the speedometer was optimistic, but later I noticed myself gaining on and passing bikes with the thing.
    – Slows down a lot on inclines. On a couple of 5-7% grades I quickly found the speed sagging down to around 5 mph. Giving a kick every few seconds (something I’m used to on my own non-electric scooter) allowed me to get back up towards 8-10 mph.
    – Coasts fairly well. The “throttle” is strictly on-off and the scooter will want to travel in the mid to high teens if you just hold it on, but if you don’t mind some on-off jerkiness you can pulse and glide the thing (classic hypermiling technique, BTW) and maintain a lower average speed, presumably with huge battery savings. This can be useful on rough pavement or in tight conditions. You don’t want to be going 18 mph all the time.

    I did about a 4 mile loop from Minneapolis’ downtown East area, over to the UofM on the Dinkytown greenway, back to the West Bank area on the Washington Avenue bridge, then back downtown.

    I personally like walking and wouldn’t use one of these to go less than half a mile or a mile unless I was in a big hurry to catch a bus or something. But for 1-5 mile trips it would really shine. The riding experience was great. But THEN I had some serious check-in problems, which I’ll describe in a separate post.

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    • GlowBoy July 27, 2018 at 2:29 pm

      OK, so the check-in experience was not so good. When I went to park the scooter, I couldn’t figure out how to do it. If memory serves the bikes let you hit a button to end the ride (or maybe you just engage the lock?) and you don’t have to use the app to do it.

      Unfortunately, there’s no way to lock the scooter FROM the scooter. You can only do it from the app. Which is supposed to have an “END RIDE” button you can click. Except mine didn’t.

      My app wasn’t showing that there was a ride in progress at all. So even though I had used the app to unlock the bike, I couldn’t use it to lock the bike when I was done. And there is no other way to lock the bike.

      I think that’s a major design flaw. What if my phone runs out of juice, or (as in my case) one of any number of possible things goes wrong with the app? Here I was, my credit card ringing up charges, me standing next to a scooter I wanted to walk away from – but didn’t dare because it was still checked out to me.

      Anyway, what I think went wrong with the app was that I had an old version. I’d downloaded it 6 months ago when I rented bikes in Seattle and hadn’t gotten the latest version from the App Store.

      Unfortunately, updating the app didn’t solve my problems, at least for 20 minutes anyway. Although the old version had remembered my login from 6 months before, I had to reenter it to activate the new version. I tried activating it using my phone number. The text with the 6 digit code never came, even though I tried sending it several times (the texts finally came through about an hour later). I tried using my email. It didn’t like my password (which, in fairness, I may have remembered incorrectly), so I used the “forgot password” link to reset it. The app didn’t like the new password. Tried the same routine again, being extremely careful to use the same password to log in the app that I’d reset it to using the website. No dice.

      Tried calling customer service a couple times. All CSRs busy, so I left a message. Tried texting customer service (as indicated on the scooter). No immediate response either.

      Finally after about another 10 minutes the app recognized my new password. Maybe their servers were temporarily overloaded or out of commission. By this time more than 20 minutes had elapsed since I had tried to end my ride. Not a great experience -especially if I’d rented the scooter to cover a mile or two and catch a bus on time.

      To Lime’s credit (and my financial credit), Lime texted me back within an hour and credited my account for about 15 minutes of ride time.

      I think Lime’s current method of only allowing a mobile app to end a ride is flawed. There ought to be a way to do it from the scooter. Also, as far as I can tell you can *only* do it from a mobile app, not from a website. In the case of an app glitch like I had, it would be nice to be able to log into a conventional website instead of an app (which would make it more dependably doable, and from a wider range of devices).

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    • John Liu
      John Liu July 27, 2018 at 6:28 pm

      What? The e-scooter motors either go full power or no power? That seems negligent and unsafe.

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      • was carless July 29, 2018 at 11:48 pm

        They aren’t very powerful. I rode one years ago, they’ve had these things for about 20 years.

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  • Jim Lee July 27, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    I nearly got run down by a “bird-bro” waiting for a bus at 6th & Main: on sidewalk at 15 mi/hr and busting all traffic signals. No helmet.

    It does look like he was having “serious fun,” though.

    Next time that happens we’ll find out he likes an elbow in the gut followed by a face plant.

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    • Toby Keith July 27, 2018 at 7:37 pm

      Yikes. We are not advocating physical attacks on people who ride scooters are we? Have we really come to that here?

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      • jered July 29, 2018 at 9:55 pm

        Defensive elbow, defensive. To avoid getting clobbered by a scooter you do what you gotta do, elbows out, drop a shoulder. If I know I’m taking a hit I’m doing all I can to minimize my damage.

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  • fourknees July 27, 2018 at 4:49 pm

    I have only have seen a couple birds and one lime near powells.

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  • Jim Lee July 27, 2018 at 6:31 pm

    I foresee antifas on escoots in conflict with police hanging off their big riot van.

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    • jered July 29, 2018 at 9:56 pm

      Ok, this sounds awesome.

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  • joel July 27, 2018 at 8:04 pm

    after one day of working downtown (im a bike messenger, so im out and about a fair bit in the central core) – my anecdotal, non-scientific, and hopefully not-to-confirmation-biased (full disclosure: ive been dreading the arrival of the e-scooters) observations:

    – saw only a few in the morning, and numbers built through the afternoon. i thought i was seeing scoots from 2 companies (one of which, by the lime green highlights, im assuming to be lime. the other two might have similar-looking dark grey/black scoots)

    – *maybe* 10% wearing helmets, which i thought were required by law? (regardless, a pretty laughable requirement, filed under “yeah right”) also plenty of cops downtown, as always. they seemed unconcerned at this point.

    – lower incidence of sidewalk-riding than expected, probably around 20%. fully expecting this to increase. of those riding on sidewalk, though, there was a high incidence of full throttle.

    – lots of wrong-way riding, stop sign running and other lack-of-awareness violations.

    – i dont believe for a second that these things are speed-limited to 15mph. no way, no how. i know what 15mph is, and i got blown past while riding 15mph on multiple occasions.

    – there definitely seemed to be several packs of riders who were on e-scoots all day, which to my eye were people likely in the employ of the scoot companies, riding them around for visibility/advertising purposes. not wearing helmets, throttles wide open. at least they werent on the sidewalk, though.

    – only had one cut me off dangerously. surprised that it wasnt more, but give it time.

    – extremely high incidence of e-scoot riders wearing flip-flops. this will not end well.

    not the apocalypse yet, but ill reserve judgement on that until they reach plague-of-locusts numbers.

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  • Ryan Janssen July 27, 2018 at 8:15 pm

    I’m pro scooter, but I was disappointed to see quite a bit of bad behavior on my ride home from work this afternoon.

    First I had to dodge two scooter bros on NW Naito that were all over the place in the bike lane. Another group was sitting on their scooter and riding in the street. That same group also thought it was a good idea to weave in and out of the cars lined up waiting for a train under the Steel bridge and were riding under the gate and around the train. The Eastbank had a couple scooter riders darting around peds and cyclists also.

    I’m hoping this is temporary and things will be better after the novelty wears off. They’re a great last mile travel option for folks that use public transit.

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    • John Liu
      John Liu July 27, 2018 at 10:30 pm

      I’ve seen (privately owned) e-scooters weaving energetically in bike lanes such that it’s hard to pass them safely. Don’t know why, maybe just having too much “serious fun”.

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      • Dan A August 1, 2018 at 1:59 pm

        Even by going into the main lane to get around them? Seems like 5 or 6 feet of clearance ought to be enough.

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  • 9watts July 27, 2018 at 9:21 pm

    What is the protocol for how 2500 of these will be (re-) charged? That seems like a logistical challenge to say the least.

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    • John Liu
      John Liu July 27, 2018 at 10:36 pm

      You can sign up to be a “juicer”. The scooter company will send you a juicer app and a bunch of power cords. At night, your juicer app will show where the scooters are that need charging, you’ll drive around picking them up, then take them home, and plug them in. In the morning, the app will show you where you are required to place the recharged scooter, and you’re required to drive around and place each scooter at the required location before a certain time (requires getting up pretty early). You’ll get several dollars per scooter recharged. There is some sort of dynamic price system, but I’ve read the typical payment is around $8/scooter recharged. So if you have a car and can drive around quickly enough beat the other juicers and collect 10 scooters, you could make $80.

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      • 9watts July 28, 2018 at 5:36 am

        Very interesting. Thanks.
        Though I’m not sure why one would need a car. That seems like the *perfect* application for a large bike trailer.

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        • John Liu July 28, 2018 at 7:43 am

          You’ll be in competition to get to scooters before other juicers do, then in the early morning you’ll potentially have to place the scooters in locations far from you. A scooter weighs 30 lb, ten will be a 300 lb load, so the juicer using a bike trailer will be slow and working hard. But, sure, it could work in the early months before there’s much competition.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty July 28, 2018 at 1:12 pm

            Also, they may seem light when empty, but when they’re fully juiced, those suckers are heavy! Juice weighs a lot more than you think.

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            • PS July 31, 2018 at 10:26 am

              Comment of the Year, no contest.

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        • bikeninja July 31, 2018 at 4:03 pm

          Maybe a specially modified bike trailer so that you could hook up a couple of the scooters and pull it like using multiple horses to pull a cart in the old west. Then run a patch cord to the pile of scooters in the trailer to suck the last of the juice out of them to get your trailer and “team” home on the remaining power left in your scooter load. This seems like a winner because you would not be burning gas or depreciating an expensive automobile to charge up a stack of adult “power wheels”.

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  • Jim Lee July 28, 2018 at 8:08 am

    Toby Keith
    Yikes. We are not advocating physical attacks on people who ride scooters are we? Have we really come to that here?Recommended 0

    A number of years ago I was riding my track fixie set up for cross on the 205 path to a medical appointment. Suddenly a very large young woman jumped out into the middle with arms spread to tackle me so her boyfriends could beat and rob me.

    That bike was powerful and agile, so I accelerated and headed right at her. As she jumped aside I rode by, punched her out, and continued amid a shower of stones.

    Every moral and legal system from the Summa Theologica to Oregon Revised Statutes recognizes the proper use of physical action in self defense. The only answer to aggressive idiots is payment in their own coin.

    Mess with me and I’ll mess with you.

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  • bikeninja July 28, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    I am not sure we have much hope as a civilization. We have a very limited amount of resources needed to transition from a fossil fuel economy to one based on renewably sourced electricity. This transition will require battery storage of all types and our best bet is Lion batteries which are dependent on limited supplies of Lithium and cobalt. We don’t seem to have the discipline or foresight not to squander these scarce resources ( not to mention the waste products and pollution given off) on toys for Scooter Bros.

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    • John Liu July 29, 2018 at 10:45 pm

      Interesting to see proponents of “active transportation” so enthusiastic about a service that is mostly just going to give people a way to avoid walking.

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      • BikeRound July 30, 2018 at 8:57 am

        My feelings exactly.

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      • 9watts July 30, 2018 at 9:47 am

        not just avoid walking, but specifically rely on a motor to avoid walking.
        This is not auspicious.

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      • Alex Reedin July 30, 2018 at 2:33 pm

        I have an even worse sin by “active transportation” proponents to report – there’s this revolutionary shared way to get around involving shared vehicles. The seductive part to these proponents is, I imagine, these shared vehicles are cheap, regularly scheduled, and go to a huge swathe of the metro area almost 24/7. The bad part is, they’re motorizedm loud, polluting, and if they’re badly piloted, even scarier and more dangerous to vulnerable road users than normal cars. And, the riders are even LESS active than car drivers or e-scooter riders – they just sit on their butts in the seats, no need to balance, push pedals, move steering wheels or anything!

        Last I heard, most “active transportation” “advocates” were strongly in favor of these so-called “buses.” The height of hypocrisy! I am OUTRAGED!!

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        • 9watts July 30, 2018 at 2:41 pm

          Ha. Funny.

          But it is worth asking what the goal is, what we’re trying to accomplish? How unmotorized transport fits into the bigger picture.
          The current trend toward deploying fleets of smart-phone-enabled, lithium-battery-powered brightly colored wheeled objects obviously fits well with our cultural mood, appeals to the consumer in all of us, but what does it all mean? Is it really helping move us forward, or is it mostly just cute, make us feel like we’re hip, while doing nothing for our ecological or carbon footprints?

          You tell me.

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          • Alex Reedin July 30, 2018 at 4:02 pm

            Here’s my belief on how it fits in –

            1) I’m with you in thinking that a societywide shift in rich countries to lower material living standards is a moral necessity for climate change (though I don’t think that they have to be *as much* lower as you do, but that’s fairly beside the point).
            2) I however, note that this message appear to have precious little convincing power in the population at large. Us environmentalists have been working on variations of it for decades at this point, to no avail.
            3) There is a potential alternate message, that a cleaner, less-impactful life will be BETTER than our current lives. In my unscientific talking with people and reading media, this message appears to have more mass appeal than the hair-shirt truth of “I don’t care if you’re slightly less happy because of it, you MUST live a much less impactful life or fewer generations are SCREWED!”
            4) E-scooters fit into the new, “clean=happy” message by showing a cleaner-than-cars way that people can have bike-like mobility at times without dealing with some of the hassles of bikes (bad bike parking, especially in apartments and workplaces; getting sweaty in the summer; having to maintain one’s own bike or be in Biketown service area, etc.)
            5) Adding one more, fun-to-some-people, option to a suite of “cleaner lifestyle” options may increase the number of people who either live a cleaner life (and vote for attendant government climate policy) or aspire to a cleaner life (and vote for attendant government climate policy to help them get there).

            Alternately, as Michael Andersen pointed out, e-scooters generate tax revenue that can be used for protected bike/scooter lanes 🙂

            E-scooters aren’t something that I’ll devote much time to pushing for as a way to get us to better climate policy, but I think there’s a case to made that they certainly helps.

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            • 9watts July 30, 2018 at 4:50 pm

              Thanks, Alex. Great post. I appreciate your taking the time to spell all that out.

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              • Alex Reedin July 31, 2018 at 8:18 am

                Thanks for the feedback! I can’t say that I think that relying on people’s selfishness & “clean=happy” to reduce the size of the future catastrophe that climate change represents is anything close to a safe bet, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

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        • BikeRound July 30, 2018 at 6:25 pm

          One, people on this site generally are well aware of the downsides of motor vehicles. Two, whatever flaws cars may have, they at least do not go down city sidewalks where motorized scooter drivers already do.

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      • Tom July 30, 2018 at 3:44 pm

        Studies now show 60% of scooter trips would have been moter vehicle trips.

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  • Pat Lowell July 30, 2018 at 10:06 am

    Anti-escooter here. So far, their only contributions to the city have been bad behavior, road hazards, junk, batteries, and excuses not to exercise. None of which we need more of. Not looking forward to the full launch, when they will really become a scourge.

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    • SteveG July 31, 2018 at 6:09 pm

      If they get more people out of 4,000 pound gasmobiles, that’s progress. I’m a regular bike commuter who sometimes rides the bus, and also sometimes carshares. I’ve already used them a few times instead of driving a carshare car, and if others do the same, we all win. Yes, scooters may be a bit messy, but they’re quiet, clean, efficient… and people riding them very likely won’t accidentally kill any pedestrians and cyclists.

      More scooters = fewer cars.

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      • 9watts July 31, 2018 at 6:24 pm

        Folks here toss out the term efficiency a lot. It might be good to use the term a little more judiciously.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty July 31, 2018 at 8:44 pm

        With the possible exception of some short Uber trips, I’m having a hard time seeing how scoooters will displace auto trips for many people. It is easy, however, to see how they might increase them as people go about their recharging duties.

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        • SERider August 1, 2018 at 10:11 am

          Especially outside of July-September.

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      • Pruss2ny August 1, 2018 at 8:17 pm

        Given their utility presominantly for short distances i think the correctequation is:
        More scooters = less pedestrians

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  • Ali July 30, 2018 at 11:59 am

    I looked into them and decided that they weren’t for me. But for other people they might work out well. They’d be better than cars at any rate.

    But then one dropped off outside my house started yelling, bleeping to high heaven and threatening to call the police. Thank g-d it was during the day. If it had happened in the middle of the night I would have been tempted to take a sledgehammer to it. Or maybe just call the cops on it.

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    • 9watts July 30, 2018 at 12:04 pm

      “They’d be better than cars at any rate.”

      Is that really a relevant comparison? I know it is fashionable to use this (better than car) foil to show, basically, anything as ‘better,’ but I’m curious if in the case of e-scooters people are in fact assumed to use them instead of hopping in the car?
      And if so, doesn’t that suggest we have bigger problems? If folks are using a car habitually for trips that could be easily accomplished with something with as many (so-called) limitations (speed, range) as these do, maybe we should be looking at making driving more expensive, more difficult, less socially acceptable, than coming up with ever trendier carrots.

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  • Alex Reedin July 30, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    Well, here’s an unexpected “e-scooter in support of bikiness” story.

    I was dropping off my cargo bike for service this morning ~1.5 miles from work. Although it’s a spot well-served by transit, waiting and transferring means walking is faster than transit. I usually take BikeTown to work after dropping of the cargo bike. But this morning, the BikeTown network was down (or at least, pressing buttons on 3-4 bikes resulted in nothing, so I assume the BikeTown network was down).

    So instead, I took an e-scooter. And, what’s better, I could cargo-bike to where an e-scooter was, load up the e-scooter in the cargo bike, bring the e-scooter to my bike shop which is a bit out of the way, drop off my cargo bike, and e-scooter to work. I got to work just on time, whereas I would have been quite a bit late walking.

    I’ll be doing the reverse this afternoon. I think I’ll be taking an E-scooter if I can find one because with the exact amount of cargo that I have (a backpack and a heavyish, lowhanging bag), it’s easier to carry on an e-scooter than on a BikeTown bike.

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  • Tom July 30, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    Recent data shows 60% of scooter rides displace motor vehicle trips. The TNC’s own data is also showing scooter trips competing aggressively with TNC car trips.

    What this means for me is the potential for less pollution on my bike commute. Every summer I show up at work sometime barely able to talk due to a very raspy throat. Every fall when it starts to rain again the problem goes away, not to come back until the next Summer. After getting checked out by my doc and trading question, he say its likely inflammation due to air pollution. For me, this problem correlates specifically with riding downtown, and every year the downtown pollution problem seems to get worse. He suggested I just drive to work. Many newer cars have good air filters, including even HEPA filters how, and they make HEPA filters that plug into the lighter. However I don’t want to be part of the problem and make the problem worse for others with the same issue as I have.

    Scooters have the potential to lower downtown air pollution, while also providing me a summertime backup plan if my problem becomes worse. If I can ride a scooter, I don’t need to breath deeply and can cut my exposure time. Active transportation is great, but not always an option for those with respiratory problems, which are actually very common. Transportation options should not be available only to people in perfect health.

    The few scrapes and bruises I have gotten from years riding a bike pail in comparison with the potential damage from air pollution. An estimated 200,000 die in the US every year directly from air pollution. Its also a major culprit for chronic disease, leading to an estimated 150,000 cases of diabetes a year. Studies show that exercise offsets this on average, but those distributions have wide tails and likely many die or become sick regardless of the exercise benefit.

    There are other ways to improve downtown air pollution, but so far those solutions don’t appear to be going anywhere. Scooters could provide very quick mitigation, vs waiting decades for other improvements.

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    • 9watts July 30, 2018 at 8:53 pm

      All very interesting . Thank you. What is TNC?

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      • Kate July 31, 2018 at 2:57 pm

        Transportation Network Companies- basically it’s the category of shared mobility vehicles like uber, lyft , etc.

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  • John Liu July 30, 2018 at 9:22 pm

    New cars – the kind typically used for Uber etc – are very clean. 90% of vehicle air pollution is produced by the 25% dirtiest vehicles, likely being commercial vehicles and older cars. Reducing Uber trips will have quite minor impact on vehicle-produced air pollution. Reducing truck traffic will make far greater difference. Without the impacts on our sidewalks and streets from scooters.

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    • Tom July 31, 2018 at 9:38 am

      Can you site a study specific to Portland downtown that shows cars don’t contribute to air pollution, or what the relative contributions are?

      I’m a little surprised that a bike advocacy site would be pushing a pro-car agenda so strongly. The automotive industry has to be really loving this. All they need to do is sit back and watch the people outside of cars squabble over crumbs of infrastructure, while they can show a unity in their proposals to spend billions on LOS projects. People are moving to Portland in large numbers and bringing their single occupant vehicles and previous history of car dependence with them. Eventually the resulting political pressures may become too great and we may see a reversal of current policies, going back to heavily prioritizing LOS. Studies show scooters appeal mostly to drivers, as an alternative to driving, thus creating a whole new category of vulnerable road user that will likely support safer road infrastructure. If a new VRU group is going to be alienated though, I see that as negatively impacting all vulnerable users and only supporting the car lobby.

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      • X July 31, 2018 at 10:30 am

        The commenter wasn’t advocating bikes, he was advocating cars.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty July 31, 2018 at 11:32 am

          He was not advocating for cars, just pointing out that all cars/trucks do not pollute equally. And he is absolutely correct. From an air quality point of view (even including CO2), focusing on the dirtiest vehicles first makes the most sense.

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          • X July 31, 2018 at 3:45 pm

            When a scooter goes past there’s no giant blast of hot air. Ball don’t lie.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty August 1, 2018 at 5:10 pm

              There is when I ride past. I generally run hot.

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      • John Liu July 31, 2018 at 11:31 am

        Cars and trucks certainly contribute to air pollution. My point is that late model passenger cars – such as typically used by Uber and other TNCs – are, as a class, the cleanest class of car. 90% of vehicle-generated air pollution is from 25% of the vehicles. likely commercial vehicles (trucks) and older cars. Therefore, a modest reduction in the number of late model passenger cars will have very little effect on vehicle-generated air pollution. You’d just be chipping a tiny bit off the other 10% of vehicle-generated air pollution. So, if the argument that scooters reduce air pollution by reducing the number of Uber car rides, that is a very weak argument.

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        • X July 31, 2018 at 4:46 pm

          Offering cleaner later model cars as somehow equivalent, a wash, compared to scooters is a giant crock. Scooters will be a nuisance, sure, and they do have batteries and rare-earth metals, etc, not to mention a power plant somewhere. But on the street they take up one percent of the space of a car, weigh less than one percent of a car, have less than one percent of the power of a car–see where this is going? Oh yes–scooters pay higher fees than a car, and if anything ever gets built for scooters it will be free for bikes to use.

          Don’t bring up Uber in a discussion about whether scooters suck. Now there’s a plague for you. Uber, or TNC, drivers stop and do business in the exact place where bike riders generally travel, the right-hand lane, or the so-called bike lane, or the through lane on the transit mall. I’ve yet to see a scooter rider do that.

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        • Tom July 31, 2018 at 10:10 pm

          I think its not that simple. Air pollution can be very local, which has especially been shown in downtown areas, varying block by block. Trucks have a big impact on interstates and major freight routes, but those locations don’t typically have high concentrations of vulnerable users breathing the air. I see very few trucks downtown on my route compared to Ubers and Lyfts, which seems to spend a lot of time pulled over idling while waiting to get rides or circling blocks over and over. Recent analysis shows Uber and Lyft increase traffic and congestion by a whopping 180% in major cities, and pull ridership off of transit. All the extra congestion does not just tie up cars, it ties up big trucks also, which must then sit idling creating more pollution than they would have. So even if you ride directly on a freight route, Uber could significantly be increasing pollution by increasing congestion for the trucks.

          And its also not just the pollution per vehicle that counts, but the pollution per vehicle multiplied by the number of vehicles. If you reduce per vehicle pollution by half but then add 10 times more vehicles, the total gets worse not better. Currently large truck number are remaining roughly steady, while SUV numbers are increasing dramatically due to population increase, so car/SUV impacts will only become more and more significant.

          Choosing Uber over a scooter is great if your goal is to drastically increase congestion, increase pollution, and defund transit.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty August 1, 2018 at 12:50 am

            This post is a mix of good points and some… not so good.

            >>> Trucks have a big impact on interstates and major freight routes, but those locations don’t typically have high concentrations of vulnerable users breathing the air. <<<

            Are you sure about this? There are a number of neighborhoods that might say different — in SE Portland, those living around Brooklyn yards certainly feel vulnerable, as do those living along Columbia. And maybe ask parents of students at Tubman how they feel.

            And why would choosing Uber over a scooter defund transit any more than choosing a scooter over Uber?

            And is there any evidence that scooters actually reduce auto traffic? It may be that people drive from CEID to downtown, and the presence of a scooter might change their decision. But it may also not be. We just don't know.

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  • Jim Lee July 31, 2018 at 8:13 am

    Toys for tots.

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  • bikeninja July 31, 2018 at 10:50 am

    From what I have seen of the characters riding these things. so far, is that it looks like the main purpose of these e scooters is to get the kind of folks who would drive their pickup or adventure-mobile with the roof top tent to work but can’t find any city center garages with tall enough roof clearance, so they park a bit farther out where bloated parking is available and ride the last mile on a scooter. I guess that is a bit of progress.

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  • bikeninja July 31, 2018 at 11:17 am

    From the stories I am hearing about these things making loud noises when moved or tampered with I am assuming that the security plan for these eventual thousands of scooters is to have the Portland Police Department take on the lions share of burden in keeping these things from disappearing in to someone’ s basement or the playgrounds of Estacada. The same Police department that is too understaffed to properly enforce traffic laws or prevent bike theft. To me this seems like a private company offloading a large portion of its operating expenses on to the public. I will change my tune if the taxes on these scooters result in increased PBB staffing and better traffic enforcement, but for now I doubt it.

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    • Alex Reedin July 31, 2018 at 2:09 pm

      That does sound like a potentially legitimate criticism.

      I will however point out that a lot of cars make noises when moved or tampered with and that TONS of police time is spent on security for private cars. 🙂

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    • X July 31, 2018 at 4:09 pm

      It’s my guess that the police will do approximately nothing about e-scooter theft, vandalism or abuse unless they randomly decide to enforce a traffic violation by a rider. If you’ve seen three scooters you’ve seen at least one traffic violation. Have there been any tickets?

      The companies will most likely self-insure any losses. They’re betting the revenue stream will pay for it, and of course it’s tax deductible if they ever show a profit.

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  • dwk July 31, 2018 at 8:59 pm

    But, but, but,,, People here love them, including the editor..
    Pieces of battery powered fossil fuel junk cast about like garbage is somehow the flavor of the month for Progressives?
    Really???
    They replace walking, that is about it.
    I saw 5 on my bike commute home today, about the same as every day since they showed up.
    5 people just scootering around, seeming like just a lark thing to do. Nothing about transportation.
    Another new shiny capitalist object toy.
    WTF is wrong with Bike Portland?
    Do you dare print this?

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    • Dan A August 1, 2018 at 2:05 pm

      “5 people just scootering around, seeming like just a lark thing to do.”

      Can you help me discern the difference between casual and transportation scootering? I want to know which scooter users I should scowl at.

      FWIW, I’m pretty sure every time I’m on a bike, I look like I’m just out there having fun — I could probably take some pointers in looking more professional.

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      • Dan A August 2, 2018 at 10:22 pm

        I saw someone today taking the lane in a Bird riding north on NE Grand across 7th Ave in the middle of rush hour. He must have been riding for transportation because it in no way looked like fun.

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    • CaptainKarma August 2, 2018 at 1:09 pm

      If I OWNED a scooter, 90% of my use would be to go to the grocery store for a loaf of bread. I am not going to go looking for one to do this. Actually, my bike is really useful for this, plus I can run a trailer with it. So it seems to me, these scooters would be replacing BICYCLE trips, not car trips. We already have bicycles.

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  • John Liu August 1, 2018 at 8:03 am

    Bird app shows only 4 scooters east of 205 as of 7:30 am. Its been that way every morning – only a few scooters in East Portland. Scooter companies are required to deploy 20% of their fleet in East Portland. They don’t seem to be complying with that condition of their permit.

    “The total number of e-scooters allowed to operate in the city will be capped at 2,500, with a requirement that companies deploy approximately 20 percent of their fleet each day in East Portland. ” https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/690215

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  • Mark smith August 2, 2018 at 11:30 am

    John Liu
    New cars – the kind typically used for Uber etc – are very clean. 90% of vehicle air pollution is produced by the 25% dirtiest vehicles, likely being commercial vehicles and older cars. Reducing Uber trips will have quite minor impact on vehicle-produced air pollution. Reducing truck traffic will make far greater difference. Without the impacts on our sidewalks and streets from scooters.Recommended 2

    Any discussion of cars being clean or not clean completely ignores the massive apparatus required to keep cars on the road. Roads, parking lots, wars, genocide…the usual. When did bikes and walking ever cause that? If the only roads you needed were for walking, scooters and buses, there would be no genocide or war or massive heat creating parking lots

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty August 2, 2018 at 11:34 am

      That apparatus is a sunk cost that has already been paid, so is not a consideration in evaluating future actions.

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      • Dan A August 2, 2018 at 11:38 am

        Roads are already paid for? Sweet! Cancel that RQ expansion then…

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty August 2, 2018 at 11:43 am

          Is someone touting scooters as a replacement for highway travel?

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          • Eric Leifsdad August 2, 2018 at 12:50 pm

            Might work if you ride with one on each foot. More practically, connecting the last mile to transit displaces the highway car trip.

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  • Christi U August 4, 2018 at 11:00 am

    I’ve ridden Bird twice. Both trips would have been by Lyft if scooter was not available. Yes, I believe they will reduce some car traffic.

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