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Portland launches e-scooter rider survey, announces focus groups

Posted by on September 26th, 2018 at 1:37 pm

Part of the survey asks about existing laws and where people want to ride.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

We’re about half-way through the 120-day electric scooter pilot program and the Portland Bureau of Transportation has embarked on the public outreach phase of its assessment.

Earlier today I received an email from Bird, one of the three companies participating in the pilot. “How was your recent Bird ride in Portland?,” it asked. “The Portland Bureau of Transportation would like to hear about it! Take their survey today for a chance to win one of four $50 Visa gift cards. Your responses will help PBOT determine whether e-scooters contribute to the Portland’s mobility, equity, safety, and climate action goals.”

The email linked to a PBOT survey that asked many detailed questions including: “Why did you try e-scooters for the first time?”, “How often do you ride e-scooters?”, “How often do you use e-scooters to access a bus, MAX, or streetcar?”, “What are the top three trip types for which you use shared e-scooters?”, “If an e-scooter had not been available for your last trip, how would you have made that trip?,” “How did you get to the e-scooter that you rode?”, “Have you reduced the number of automobiles you (or your family) own because of e-scooters?,” and so on.

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The survey asked how often I used various travel modes before and after e-scooters arrived. Education was also part of the survey. PBOT wants to know if the laws are understood and how to do a better job informing the public about them. They also ask survey-takers to rank each of the three scooter companies.

One of the most interesting questions showed a graphic of a street cross section and asked where I typically ride my scooters. Then the next question asked where I’d prefer to ride them. I could see the answers to these questions having an influence on whether or not the City of Portland pursues code changes that would allow people to use scooters in parks and on some sidewalks.

This survey is just one tool PBOT will use to decide whether or not to continue — and/or how best to continue — to offer e-scooters in Portland.

Earlier this week PBOT announced a series of four “transportation focus groups for the black community.” One of them will discuss the e-scooter pilot. PBOT says they’ll host three community focus groups on this topic in October; one for people who identify as black, one for the “disability community” and the other for east Portland residents.

PBOT will determine the success of the scooters based on their ability to: reduce private auto use and congestion, prevent fatalities and injuries, expand access to underserved communities, and reduce air pollution.

If you’ve ridden a scooter, please take time to fill out the survey.

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

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Clicky Freewheel
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Clicky Freewheel

Does PBOT enforce the rules regarding e-scooters at all? I see people riding the wrong way down park paths, riding on sidewalks, and leaving scooters blocking walkways. It is now a nearly daily occurrence that I get hit by a e-scooter operator (always wearing headphones!) I’ve never had any of these problems with bike share users.

Now that Better Naito is gone, the e-scooter riders are making riding in Waterfront Park treacherous. They go way too fast down the path. These e-scooters riders are just as selfish as car drivers – they don’t seem to care if they crash into you and expect you to move out of their way. They are making cycling in this city that much more dangerous.

I don’t have high hopes that PBOT will address this issue – this city generally would rather cave to these companies rather than regulate them – but I seriously hope that the city makes them pay for the extra enforcement that their presences now requires. And I sincerely hope they do not allow them on sidewalks – pedestrians should not be forced to share space with fast-moving motorized vehicles.

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

Hello Survey, my name is Scooter Dude. I would prefer to ride a scooter up bike lanes in the opposite direction from those uptight snobby cyclists. What is it with these old time manually cranked yokels giving me attitude about cruising in whatever direction I want. Scoots are about fun and freedom, get off of my cloud you cyclist kill-joys.

turnips
Guest
turnips

the primary takeaway of my very small and informal survey of scooter riders is that they are uncomfortable with speaking to strangers. also: four out of six would have been walking without the scooters, one would have been biking, and one was taking a trip expressly to try out the scooter (after trying a biketown bike).

q
Guest
q

“PBOT will determine the success of the scooters based on their ability to: reduce private auto use and congestion, prevent fatalities and injuries, expand access to underserved communities, and reduce air pollution.”

I like the scooters but don’t use them. Where I see them (because of where I am during the day) is on the Willamette Greenway Trail and South Waterfront. I’d guess the people I see are using them for recreation, curiosity, and (at the South Waterfront) to go between buildings and the tram, office to coffee shop, etc. –so either replacing walking or just creating a trip for pleasure.

So based on the PBOT criteria, the trips I see are worthless, although I still see some value in them.

pedestrian
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pedestrian

I have seen them within ODOT property known for narcotics use such as the west end of SW 13th and SW Main St and other sites where controlled substances are used. Given that significant proportion of Portland’s transients have substance abuse and dependency issues, operating under the influence is a significant concern that creates significant risk for pedestrians and auto drivers. I firmly believe e-scootering while high on heroin in the city around other pedestrians and vehicles need to be charged with DWI. Some of you might recall Oregon’s interpretation of use of e-scooter by those with suspended driving license changed to “call law enforcement for info” .
These things should carry PIP and liability in the same fashion as Car 2 Go and ZipCar. I’m going to call my insurance company and ask if my PIP would cover me if I’m involved in a collision as a pedestrian with one of those scooters.

mh
Subscriber

I love that they’re asking people already if the scooters have allowed the person to give up a car. In the middle of a trial period, with no assurance of continued availability? The survey seems really designed to be used well into the time when – not if – the scooters are fully approved for the long term.

Eric Leifsdad
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Eric Leifsdad

In looking forward to the survey about how cars “contribute to Portland’s mobility, equity, safety, and climate action goals” and the decision about whether we’ll continue to allow them.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

Why is PBOT only surveying scooter users? Why is the survey written to exclude input from pedestrians, cyclists, and others who are affected by the scooters?

I am starting to think that public outreach surveys need to be handled by a third party. I am too often seeing the bureaus use surveys that appear carefully designed to elicit a particular response.

I wear many hats
Guest
I wear many hats

One cannot complete the survey if they do not ride a scooter, thus getting an extremely biased sample