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PBOT to host e-scooter safety event on Thursday

Posted by on September 12th, 2018 at 3:51 pm

These scooter users forced a bicycle rider to swerve around them while they rode wrong way on SE 52nd Avenue.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

As part of an effort to encourage safer use of electric scooters, the City of Portland will host a safety event this Thursday (9/13).

Here’s the official announcement just released by PBOT:

PBOT to host Electric Scooter Safety Event – Scooter Companies will also be on hand to give away helmets

The Portland Bureau of Transportation will host an e-scooter safety event on Thursday, Sept. 13 as part of its ongoing education efforts during PBOT’s Electric Shared Scooter Pilot Program.

Representatives from all three scooter companies operating in Portland – Bird, Lime and Skip – will also give away over 500 free helmets on a first come, first served basis. PBOT will distribute safety information to scooter users.


This card was one of hundreds attached to scooters around town.

The Shared Scooter Pilot Program is a 120 day pilot program which runs until November 20. Through the pilot program, PBOT created a temporary scooter permit to allow companies to offer scooters for rent. Both during and after the pilot, PBOT will conduct an evaluation of the program, including surveying Portlanders, to determine whether scooters are compatible with the safe, efficient and equitable operation of Portland’s transportation system.

By state law, scooter riders must wear a helmet and cannot ride on sidewalks. According to the city code, the scooters cannot be used in city parks. Riders are required to park scooters on the sidewalk close to the curb, so that scooters do not interfere with pedestrians. As a condition of receiving a permit, companies are required to educate riders about safe riding and proper parking behavior. More information about PBOT’s Shared Electric Scooter Pilot Program can be found at

The event will take place from 10:30 am to 1:00 pm on Thursday at the intersection of SW Broadway and Oak.

It’s not clear what spurred the safety event, although concerns about safe and legal use of the scooters has been common in local headlines since the pilot program began earlier this summer. A few weeks ago PBOT began attaching cards on scooters that shared basic safety tips and offered reminders of the rules of the road. A scooter user was involved in a collision with a TriMet bus in northeast Portland on August 30th.

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

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25 thoughts on “PBOT to host e-scooter safety event on Thursday”

  1. Avatar dwk says:

    The riders were better in there beginning unfortunately..
    I see much worse behavior recently, a lot of sidewalk riding wrong way riding.
    The good news is today when I came through downtown in the rain I did not see ONE scooter anywhere.
    That was a really short lived fad.

  2. Avatar q says:

    I love seeing people going by on scooters when I’m walking my dog on park paths. It’s a perfect place for them. Why not allow them in parks? And does that rule preclude using them on streets within parks, so you can drive a car in a park, but not ride a scooter?

    I’ve never been tempted to say to a scooter riding family in the park, “Get those things off the Greenway Trail! If you want to ride, go out on Macadam where you belong!”

    Helmet rule is dumb, too, and what’s the point of the helmet giveaway? Will people getting the helmets actually carry them around with them so they’ll be legal if they want to get on a scooter?

  3. Rivelo Rivelo says:

    Like etiquette classes, sensitivity training, and gender equality teach-ins, I suspect the people who would most benefit from such an event will be the least likely to attend.

  4. Avatar turnips says:

    slightly off-topic: I asked every scooter rider I encountered on my ride home last night how they would be traveling if the scooters weren’t around. a couple folks ignored me completely, one made a turn that appeared to be intended to get them away from me as quickly as possible, and four seemed confused and/or alarmed, but answered the question. all four said they would have been walking otherwise. not a meaningful sample size, of course.

    1. Avatar turnips says:

      a friend asked the only scooter-ist we saw on the ride home tonight: he was just trying it out after having ridden to the scooter on biketown. the whole purpose of the trip was the bikeshare and scooter.

    2. Avatar turnips says:

      one more while I was on a lunch stroll just now said she would have been walking.

  5. Avatar bikeninja says:

    Just anecdotal but I have two friends in the last week who have had occasion to visit local hospital ER’s ( both due to elderly relatives) and in both cases they report seeing young folks there with Scooter injuries ( yes they asked). One broken wrist and one severe ankle laceration. I am wondering how long until unpaid ER bills start pilling up and the hospitals start looking toward the Scooter companies as recourse.

    1. Avatar Chris I says:

      Health insurance?

    2. Avatar X says:

      I always read your comments with interest, bikeninja, but–sue the scooter companies? The way they sue Ford, et al., when uninsured victims of car crashes come in?

      1. Avatar Bikeninja says:

        the scooter companies are more like car rental companies that design the cars they rent. That is one of the reasons car rental companies have large and complicated insurance policies that go with each rental, also a reason the mammoth car insurance system has been built up over the years . Scooter riders are often young, tourists etc which is a group most likely not to have health insurance. If you don’t think the healthcare industrial complex will stop at nothing to collect what is due them you have been living a protected life.

        1. Avatar Middle of The Road Guy says:

          Isn’t it their choice to not have insurance and therefore their choice to take those risks?

          1. Avatar q says:

            Yes, but if they don’t have insurance, and can’t pay their medical bills, the situation remains remains where the hospitals want to get paid.

            1. Avatar Martin Vandepas says:

              The hospitals get paid by charging a higher amount to the people who can pay and this covers the people who cannot.

          2. Avatar DWK says:

            Aw, the old “choice” argument.
            What they are choosing to do is get hurt, not pay the bills and the rest of us get stuck with paying for their “choice”.

      2. Avatar q says:

        I’d probably crash, too, if I tried to play the clavicle while riding a scooter.

    3. Avatar q says:

      It’s going to get worse. Almost all scooter injuries happen in the fall.

      1. Avatar 2WheelsGood says:

        I tried one. They’re fun, but not as fun, safe, fast, or cheap as a bicycle.

        Control is not good for abrupt maneuvers and around debris or road problems. You don’t have as far to fall, but many people are going to get hurt.

  6. Avatar 2WheelsGood says:

    As a cyclist, I don’t mind the scooters at all. They cause no problems on the roads and bike lanes.

    As a ped, I don’t like them. Too many ride like douchebags.

  7. Avatar jayson says:

    watching the 11 PM news last night about flooding in Portland I saw a live shot of a scooter in a bike lane and remembered there will be tons of leaves falling pretty soon. I wonder how stable they are in slick conditions.

  8. Avatar Sam Peterson says:

    Nobody who would benefit from this event will attend this event.

  9. Avatar Stephen Keller says:

    When I encounter a scooter or cyclist going the wrong way in a bike lane, I stay to the right. It’s their offence and thus their problem to deal with.

    1. Avatar nc says:

      I always ride as far left as I can in the bike lane, to avoid car doors. Thus those coming towards me are the ones pinched against the car or kerb. Only when I know a bus or truck is behind me do I go to the right and make them go right.

  10. Avatar Johnny Bye Carter says:

    So by “safety” they really mean “helmet”.

    How many tickets have they written to scooter operators? And what is the breakdown of offenses?

    Encouraging is often ineffective. People will do what they want when faced with no immediate consequences.

  11. Avatar Josh G says:

    PBOT is making a very wise move with this safety event to help appease all the people angry about the scooters. People can’t handle change. If PBOT decides to keep the scooters, this scooter anger will blow over.

    Anyhow we all know the problem with safety is not scooters, bikes, or pedestrians… but trucks, cars, and roadway design. What of the preceding vehicles or travel modes does the most damage in a collision? Hint: Think way back to your high school physics calls… Force = Mass X Acceleration.

    1. Avatar soren says:

      “to help appease all the people angry about the scooters”

      more like incite the minority and victim blame scooter users.

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