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Portland’s e-scooter pilot ends tomorrow (and that’s too bad)

Posted by on November 19th, 2018 at 2:46 pm

The sun is about to set on scooters.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

It was fun while it lasted.

The end of the line has come for Portland’s electric scooters. The pilot started back in July and — judging from comments by Bureau of Transportation staff in a Willamette Week story published yesterday — PBOT seems likely to keep their promise of officially ending it sometime this week.

The scooters hit the streets on July 23rd. For the most part, the program has been a huge success. It’s really a shame it has to end like this.

Remember before they launched? There were all manner of crazy predictions about how terrible it would be. One of our local weeklies published a story that referenced the “zombie apocalypse” and likened the presence of scooters to an “invasion,” peppering the story with anecdotes about crashes and cluttered sidewalks that were all but unusable.

None of that stuff really came true.

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Better Naito worked; but we ended it. The scooter program has been a success; but we plan to end that too.

While there are definitely kinks to work out (that’s what a pilot is for), with nearly 700,000 trips in just four months, the 2,000 scooters have changed mobility in Portland for the better. A survey of more than 4,500 scooter users showed them to be wildly popular and used in a way that aligns with nearly all of the City of Portland’s adopted transportation goals.

The scooter companies (not surprisingly) are begging PBOT to extend the pilot. Scooters have been very controversial in Long Beach, California; but officials there decided to prolong the test period for three months while they address how best to regulate them.

As we saw with strong support from City Council for the Central City in Motion plan last week, the City of Portland wants people to drive less and use more efficient, climate-friendly, and safer ways to move around. The scooters tick all those boxes. And now, just as people have begun to integrate them into their lives, the scooters will disappear.

As for what happens next, PBOT says they’ll share findings from all the data and public input they’ve gathered and make them public in early 2019. “The bureau will consider community input and data findings on e-scooters in Portland, and we look forward to learning from the findings to evaluate and inform a potential second pilot program in 2019,” said the agency in a statement.

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

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90 Comments
  • Chris Anderson November 19, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    It’s my impression the scooters took cars off the road, and increased driver vigilance. I would like to see what happens if the scooter program allowed unlimited alternatives mobility devices for each vendor (as long as they follow basic guidelines about not letting broken scooters linger on the streets etc.)

    We’ll know the future is here when arrangements of electric motors in ways we haven’t thought of start getting popular. Ask a bunch of first-graders what they would build from the scooter part set, I bet there some wild ideas in there with it would make a splash in the market.

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  • soren November 19, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    “the City of Portland wants people to drive less and use more efficient, climate-friendly, and safer ways to move around”

    i disagree. this city is great at passing “plans” but when it comes to actually doing the work that disincentivize single occupancy vehicle use and incentivizing alternative modes, portland is unambiguously failing. bike mode share has dropped by ~13% in the past few years and per capita transit use has also plummeted. meanwhile, the number of registered motorvehicles in the portland area has increased sharply.

    perhaps the best illustration of portland’s car-centrism is the way uber and lyft have been given carte blanche to dramatically increase congestion, pollution, and compete with public transit while e-scooter programs (that lack these negative externalities) have been abruptly cancelled following a successful trial period.

    apparently pbot views the thousands of uber and lyft vehicles trolling portland’s neighborhood greenways as a benefit while people using e-scooters are seens as some sort of “tech bro” scourge that must be subjected to more rounds of “outreach” and public discourse before they are allowed to become bonafide “traffic”. imo, pbot’s reluctance to “approve” alternative transportation modes this has nothing to do with “tech bros” (users of scooters have proven to be remarkably diverse) and everything to do with pbot’s climate-change-denying car-centrism.

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    • Clark in Vancouver November 19, 2018 at 8:01 pm

      As Brent Toderian said “The truth about a city’s aspirations isn’t found in its vision. It’s found in its budget.”

      So many places have paid lip service to transportation alternatives but don’t do much to support it. If there’s something for motor vehicles though, the money just automatically flows.
      Systemic issues like this will keep coming up if you don’t change the system.
      The US political scene is in a state of flux right now and a good opportunity for anyone who’s thought of running for office to get in there with new bold ideas.

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    • B. Carfree November 19, 2018 at 8:19 pm

      I think you’re being a wee bit unfair about the mode shares in PDX. Sure, bike use was slightly higher in 2014,5 than the 2016,7 rates, but not by much and it looks darned flat over the past eight years. I’m not saying flat is the goal or worthy of congratulations, but it’s better than some cities, like Eugene, are doing. Also, the car modal share in PDX is down slightly over the past few years. Yes, there are more cars on the road, but as a percentage of folks getting to work it’s moving in the right direction.

      The facts of the situation are damning enough without presenting them unfairly, imo. PBoT and the people of Portland aren’t rising to the occasion. Incremental baby steps are having teeny, tiny impacts when large change is necessary for many reasons. Essentially flat trends in modal share isn’t going to get it done.

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      • soren November 20, 2018 at 10:16 am

        census numbers do not measure the increase in traffic due to people driving for TNCs (uber/lyft) and delivery services (caviar, ubereats, postmantes) because none of these trips count as “commutes”.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty November 20, 2018 at 10:36 am

          I’m guessing you get your caviar delivered by bike.

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    • Middle of the Road Guy November 20, 2018 at 1:41 pm

      Nobody is saying scooters will not be back. It was a pilot project. Pilot projects, by their very definition, have an end point.

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      • Beth H November 20, 2018 at 8:37 pm

        And I am super okay if it stays ended. It was poorly thought out and poorly executed and if it made drivers more vigilant, it did nothing to make scooter users so.

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      • soren November 21, 2018 at 11:37 am

        The Uber/Lyft pilot had no end point — both companies were allowed to continue selling rides (and exploiting workers and the transportation commons) after the pilot ended.

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  • RH November 19, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    Loved the scooters! They were like 2,000 deer randomly scattered around the city. They caused drivers to be on the lookout and to be more aware of their surroundings…no one wants to hit a deer….no one wants to hit a scooter.

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    • I wear many hats November 19, 2018 at 5:04 pm

      Exactly this! People were actually looking for others while they drove. The scooters made our roads safer be a non driver, whether it was walking, riding, or scooting.

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  • EmilGJ November 19, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    HUZZAH

    HALLELUJAH

    PRAISE BE

    MY PRAYERS ARE ANSWERED, etc. et al. ad infinitum.

    so relieved to see these gone for however long, YASSSSSSS.

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    • Chris I November 20, 2018 at 10:01 am

      I for one, am glad that these careless road users will now go back to driving multi-ton machines at high-speed through our dense urban fabric.

      God loves dead pedestrians.

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      • Toby Keith November 20, 2018 at 4:13 pm

        I don’t believe the scooters were our traffic salvation. Looked like fun for a lot of tech bro tourists scouting out their next overpriced hip apartment though.

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        • Chris I November 21, 2018 at 9:50 am

          I don’t think anyone holds that opinion. I felt they had net benefits. If even 10% of the riders are scooting instead of driving, it will save lives.

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  • Mike Quigley November 19, 2018 at 4:41 pm

    Too bad. Portland is like most of the rest of America. Desperately trying to hang onto the past. Desperately trying to avoid facing the future. And with an educational system that ranks 17th in the developed world, can you say, watch out below!? Of course you can.

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    • Toby Keith November 19, 2018 at 6:42 pm

      Kate Brown will be sure to lend a hand in keeping us down there.

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  • soren November 19, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    “PBOT considers second pilot in 2019
    …we look forward to learning from the findings to evaluate and inform a potential second pilot program in 2019.”

    https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/ORPORTLAND/bulletins/21c9f16

    When is PBOT going to hold some pilot studies on whether Uber, Lyft, and other TNCs are compatible with a safe and livable community?

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    • soren November 19, 2018 at 5:58 pm

      If it’s a 5-12 ton metal box on wheels, venture-capital-funded disruption is A-OK without “pilot projects” or regulation but if it’s a 15 lb e-scooter multiple “pilots”, large taxes on the operators, and expensive outreach and surveys are a necessity. It seems to me that PBOT is giving ODOT a run for its money as the most regressive and out of touch transportation agency in the state of Oregon.

      Study: Uber and Lyft are Increasing Traffic Deaths:
      https://usa.streetsblog.org/2018/10/24/study-uber-and-lyft-are-increasing-traffic-deaths/

      Uber and Lyft Are Overwhelming Urban Streets, and Cities Need to Act Fast:
      https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2018/07/25/uber-and-lyft-are-overwhelming-urban-streets-and-cities-need-to-act-fast/

      Uber and Lyft Are Cannibalizing Transit in Major American Cities:
      https://usa.streetsblog.org/2017/10/13/uber-and-lyft-are-cannibalizing-transit-in-major-american-cities/

      PS: I’ve only ridden an e-scooter once and stopped even trying because they were so heavily used that I could never find one near my tiny apartment in the inner SE .

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    • B. Carfree November 19, 2018 at 8:24 pm

      If PBoT considered our current cars first, cars last, cars everywhere, cars always streetscape a pilot, I wonder if it would be considered to be worthy of extension, or even a second pilot. It’s hard to believe any rational person looking at the size of the negative impacts, including death and injury numbers, would think it’s been a success.

      Other cities around the globe are taking tepid steps to remove cars from their streets, at least part of the time for some of the streets. We should jump on this trend. Just imagine all the land that could be freed up for other uses (greenspace, housing). If we had that world, would we trade to get this one back? I think not.

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    • Middle of the Road Guy November 20, 2018 at 1:44 pm

      They did do some pilot studies, but not necessarily on your criteria.

      https://katu.com/news/local/uber-lyft-back-in-portland-on-120-day-pilot-program

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  • Mark smith November 19, 2018 at 5:59 pm

    soren

    “PBOT considers second pilot in 2019 …we look forward to learning from the findings to evaluate and inform a potential second pilot program in 2019.”

    https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/ORPORTLAND/bulletins/21c9f16When is PBOT going to hold some pilot studies on whether Uber, Lyft, and other TNCs are compatible with a safe and livable community?Recommended 3

    But those are cars and Portland already has a love affair with cars as do residents. Let’s not forget, uber and Lyft essentially bring servants to the masses. Now everyone can feel like a character in Downton abbey. That’s why it stays, nobody questions and it’s popular.

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  • Carter November 19, 2018 at 6:00 pm

    The scooters were great, except for the whole “a few bad apples” thing (some people are the worst). My complaints were few:

    1) Get them out of the esplanade and public parks. They’re already not allowed there and this is where I saw most of the bad actors. The scooter companies should be able to gps-block them from functioning in these areas.
    2) The folks who place the scooters around town put them in bad places like blocking the crosswalks on corners or right next to bike racks so you can’t lock up your bike. I wrote to all three companies and only one wrote back, saying they would let their people know.

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    • DNF November 20, 2018 at 10:39 pm

      Fundamentally disagree. The esplanade and to a lesser degree waterfront park are important non-car transportation corridors. The scooter ban is ridiculous.

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  • Richard November 19, 2018 at 6:47 pm

    I run a pet care company downtown, and I commute to all my clients by bike. Due to an injury, I tried an e-scooter for the first time today as a painless alternative. It was a life- and business-saver for me in my day-long commutes. Super bummed that I won’t have this option tomorrow. Obviously, I will opt for the streetcar and buses, but the scooter was so convenient and efficient — just from my one-day/last-day trial!

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    • colton November 20, 2018 at 12:48 pm

      “I won’t have this option tomorrow.”

      You do. If you use them regularly, they are no further out of reach than owning a bike.

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  • pruss2ny November 19, 2018 at 7:07 pm

    would love to see some accounting for scooter related accidents/injuries. there were certainly complaints about dangerous behavior that u can accept or discount as u wish…but a friend who works a downtown ER randomly inserted in conversation one night that this summer they saw a definitive uptick in injuries/broken bones that typically included some mixture of alcohol and scootering. seems like data that should be documentable.

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    • Daniel November 20, 2018 at 1:27 pm

      There’s no accounting for it out there, because nobody really cares that much about minor injuries. It’s not a news story when someone gets drunk, crashes a scooter, and breaks an arm, just like it’s not a news story when someone gets drunk, falls off their porch, and breaks an arm. The original hysteria around scooters was that we would see a rash of deaths because lawless scooter-riders would eschew helmets (they did) and crash constantly, dying of head injuries (they didn’t). Asking to now expand the fear-mongering to whether more people are breaking bones is just moving the goalposts.

      In the meantime, there was another documented case of a drunk driver hitting and killing a pedestrian on the sidewalk this week, which you can discount if you wish. I sure wish he’d been drunk-scootering instead.

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      • Pruss2ny November 20, 2018 at 2:55 pm

        Could it be a news item when someone crashes and breaks orbital and sues city for supporting a mode share without providing appropriate safety gear?

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        • Daniel November 20, 2018 at 5:11 pm

          It certainly would be news. And yet, despite you hearing from a friend who works in a hospital that there’s been an uptick in injuries, you’ll notice nobody’s suing the city. Maybe that’s because: a, the scooters are provided by a private company within the law and not the city, b, most people consider it their own fault if they aren’t careful on one, and c, they’re not as dangerous as people assume they are.

          The city can’t be sued for “supporting mode share”, whatever that means, any more than I could sue them if I crash my bike because they said biking was a good way to get around. Someone could very much sue one of the e-scooter companies, especially if they were negligent in maintaining their fleet, and that’s a good thing – the threat of an expensive lawsuit should incentivize them to keep their fleet in good shape.

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          • pruss2ny November 20, 2018 at 7:44 pm

            of course the city can be sued. that’s why i included the link….

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            • Daniel November 21, 2018 at 9:18 am

              Your link was to a news story about a different situation – Citi Bike has NYC DOT as a partner, and is explicitly intended to be a part of NYC’s public transit. The equivalent here is Biketown, which technically could cause a suit to be brought against the city for the same reason, although it’s very unlikely they’d win. You’ll notice that the article you posted was just about the suit being allowed to go forward; NYC settled out of court (and likely for much much less) a while ago.

              E-scooter companies aren’t partnering with PBOT, because they don’t need to – they don’t ask for docks to be installed, and the scooters themselves are already legal to ride. The only reason they’re cooperating with the city at all is to try to keep the city happy enough that it doesn’t make an ordinance banning them.

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    • pruss2ny November 29, 2018 at 6:13 am

      i just don’t remember these kind of numbers coming out when bikeshare was launched

      https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6440187/ER-doctors-report-sharp-increase-injuries-electric-scooters.html

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  • Jeff November 19, 2018 at 7:22 pm

    Are there restrictions on private scooter ownership? That is, if I buy one of these electric scooters for my own use, do the city’s regulations currently cover that?

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty November 19, 2018 at 10:42 pm

      No.

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    • DNF November 20, 2018 at 10:41 pm

      You can absolutely buy one (for 300-500) and the restrictions are the same.

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  • 9watts November 19, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    “showed them to be wildly popular and used in a way that aligns with nearly all of the City of Portland’s adopted transportation goals.”

    I think we should try to flesh this out a little bit.

    Wildly popular – sure. So are (were) fidget spinners and yoyos and pagers. Popular is good, but popular is not by itself a good metric.

    Portland’s adopted transportation goals – Comparing an e-scooter to a single occupant vehicle (if in fact these scooters were used to substitute for car trips) then sure. But I remain skeptical how many of those trips these substituted for. And we are talking about a very short lived (4 mo lifespan translates essentially to a throwaway) motor vehicle here.
    The only thing about them I mind is our collective refusal to acknowledge, discuss, grapple with the problematic material and energetic lifecycle of these things, not to mention the prospect of something else, even sexier, displacing them in ~24 or ~36 months, at which point the whole lot will be junked like all those thousands of surplus unused bike share bikes we see dumped into ravines in China.

    Btw, does anyone know what will happen to the fleets from our streets? It’s been right around four months….

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    • soren November 20, 2018 at 9:20 am

      Given their high rate of usage and lower use of energy-intensive metal, I suspect that scooters are a far better choice than shared bikes when it comes to the CO2e life cycle. Manufacturers are switching structural components to carbon fiber so the embedded CO2e of the scooters should drop even further relative to alloy bikes.

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      • 9watts November 20, 2018 at 9:24 am

        Only if you overlook the extremely short product life and the propulsion system components. Light weight can mask rarity, and if product life is shrunk to 1/10, then the cumulative equivalent weight of those short-lived products is 10x.

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        • soren November 20, 2018 at 7:04 pm

          regardless of whether bike share or scooter share are more sustainable from a LCA perspective, both are a better option than uber or lyft.

          i’m also quite certain that making scooters even more sustainable is a far easier task than doing the same for 5-12 ton automobiles.

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          • 9watts November 21, 2018 at 9:38 am

            Sure, if you frame it that way.

            Hybrid SUVs are marginally better than their unhybridized relatives; laptops use less energy than desktops; recycling cans is better than dumping them in the landfill; Lowes is less evil than Amazon, but what we really need is to extract ourselves from these uninspiring comparisons, find solutions that avoid this incrementalist logic.
            I don’t need multinationals, or Chinese factories, or lithium mines, or juicers, or the internet to keep my roller blades in working condition; nor does my skateboard or bike require these. We are allowing our options to be defined by the exigencies of venture capital and rapidly diminishing resources the world over which are kept available and cheap through unspeakable violence, repression, and military projection. We should hold ourselves to a higher standard.

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            • soren November 22, 2018 at 7:52 pm

              Comparing a 15 lb mobility accessory to a 6000 lb vehicle with a polluting tailpipe is false equivalency. Scooters may not be the “perfect” transportation mode from a climate change perspective but neither is conventional cycling (and especially so when it is powered by the meat-centric USAnian diet) or lithium-battery powered public transit (something you support).

              When it comes to ongoing ecocide, the perfect is the enemy of the good.

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              • 9watts November 22, 2018 at 9:47 pm

                May I remind you where this started? With e-scooter rides of an average distance of somewhere around one mile ostensibly substituting for auto trips. I never suggested the comparison (derivative savings claims) were plausible or useful.
                You are correct that I did once champion battery electric hybrid buses; and we can talk about the pros and cons of diesel vs battery electric buses, but that is, you might agree, rather far from where this began.

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              • 9watts November 22, 2018 at 9:50 pm

                “When it comes to ongoing ecocide, the perfect is the enemy of the good.”

                Not so fast. I would suggest that the threat of ecocide is precisely why we must be fastidious in how we make sense of our options, remain vigilant, resist the urge to fall for the sexy choices capitalism constantly dangles before us.

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              • soren November 23, 2018 at 11:42 am

                “ostensibly substituting for auto trips.”

                Average trip distance for TNCs in urban areas has been estimated at ~5 miles in multiple analyses. A significant fraction of these trips are in the 1-2 mile range. Likewise a significant fraction of e-scooter trips are >1.5 miles.

                http://www.schallerconsult.com/rideservices/automobility.pdf

                What I find particularly promising about scooter users is that many are in the demographic that is most resistant to cycling. I have to suspect that wide-spread use of human-scaled mobility devices may very well be one of the ways in which our autocentric society becomes more open to pedaling for transportation.

                As for battery electric buses there is a proven alternative that was once ubiquitous in Portland and is still used extensively in Seattle and San Francisco: trolley bus lines.

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  • Fred November 20, 2018 at 8:27 am

    I think the scooter should become the de facto way of moving people around downtown, but I’m afraid the program will be hurt by the number of people misbehaving on the scooters. Last week I saw one guy violently jumping a Bird scooter on the sidewalk downtown – whipping it up into the air and landing hard on the wheels, over and over. I also saw a lot of people, over the summer, swerving and doing tricks on the scooters. Treating the scooters like toys is not going to increase the public’s confidence that this is a serious mode of transport, worthy of a chunk of our transport infrastructure.

    I know, I know – people misbehave in cars all the time, and the police are too busy to catch them. But the scooters are going to need all the help they can get to be taken seriously.

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  • Alex Reedin, now in Albuquerque, NM November 20, 2018 at 9:18 am

    A second pilot? Seriously? If I still had time to be a transportation activist, and were still in Portland, I’d be asking Eudaly and PBOT what questions went unanswered from the first pilot. If the first pilot was properly designed, PBOT should have all the information they need to inform a indefinite/”permanent” rollout based on it (or to have a strong basis for not recommending a permanent program at this time).

    As it stands, unless the second “pilot” is planned to transition smoothly into a program, talk of a second pilot just seems like unnecessary tiptoeing because of insufficient political support.

    Also, IMO, a scooter pilot is likely to be significantly less popular than a properly-implemented permanent scooter program. This is due to the sidewalk clutter issue. In the central city, the best place to park scooters is generally in the street. A pilot timeframe is too short to justify the (small) infrastructure investment needed to convert car parking to scooter parking. This leads to an inability to enforce a sidewalk rule. (If there is a shared bike/scooter parking area on every block – not every blockface, every block – then GPS can judge whether bikes/scooters are parked in those parking areas on an automated, mass basis. But the current 17 rules are completely unenforceable on a mass basis, leading to sidewalk clutter.) Prolonging the pilot timeframe may ultimately do unnecessary serious damage to the public perception of e-scooters due to the sidewalk clutter argument.

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    • pruss2ny November 20, 2018 at 12:32 pm

      ” IMO, a scooter pilot is likely to be significantly less popular than a properly-implemented permanent scooter program.”

      whoa there cowboy…no one (other than the well intentioned) is talking about a ‘properly implemented permanent scooter program” here.

      the sizzle is the promise of mode change, but the steak is the next round of financing…or maybe the next next round of financing. was indirectly pitched on this concept (scooter-share) earlier this week and the enthusiasm isn’t in solving urban planning woes, but the potentially exponential valuation jump if a few cities show excitement.

      early investment…high five the new economy/green(ish) modeshare…then dump into a richer financing round. someone else can figure out what to do with sidewalks littered with freestanding scooters likely to come in a permanent program

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      • Alex Reedin November 20, 2018 at 12:41 pm

        Um, I guess I wasn’t clear enough.

        If you designate a bunch of parking spaces as scooter corrals, you can then credibly disallow scooter parking anywhere else (in the central city). Demand high-quality GPS data from the scooter companies to be given to the City with some proof that it hasn’t been monkeyed with, and institute substantial fines for scooters shown by GPS to be not in a scooter corral. The scooter companies will pass those fines onto their users, and suddenly the vast majority of scooters will be parked in scooter corrals.

        This is not workable for areas far outside the central city (too many scooter corrals needed for easy walkability, too little demand). But, in my experience in the scooter pilot, the scooters were much more likely to be parked properly outside the central city. If there’s a parking/planting strip, people seemed to be pretty good about using it for the scooters. And in sidewalkless sections of East Portland, the few scooters that I saw were parked in the gravel/dirt car “parking spaces” that get created along the side of the road. Which seems like a fine place for them to be parked.

        Thus, next to no sidewalk clutter. And all this applies to dockless bikeshare as well.

        I get your reticence in jumping on a bubbly VC-funded mode, but we need the shared-vehicle corrals in former car parking spaces for bikeshare, too, and bikeshare has been around for, well, more than a decade.

        But only workable if the City has political will, and treats this as more than a flash in the pan, and takes the issue of “but where do you PARK them?” more seriously than just firing off 17 rules without the resources to credibly enforce them.

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        • pruss2ny November 20, 2018 at 12:55 pm

          “Um, I guess I wasn’t clear enough”

          sorry…of course you were clear…and typically content laden…I just zeroed in on the idea of transition from pilot to permanent and suddenly bemoaned (cynically) that the only people thinking about that transition are the people on this board and maybe in urban planning..but the money backing scooter share is largely i suspect looking for another pilot round or whatever they can get to spur another, richer, financing round

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        • X November 24, 2018 at 10:38 am

          For me, the biggest direct local impact of scooters is of course the parking. Designated scooter (& potentially rental bike) parking zones seems like a good idea if we’re going to allow them at all. Tax scooters based on access to parking, period. The logic works for cars as well. Require casual car services to have a medallion and use designated parking spaces. Tax them for access to parking in business districts. Fine them for stopping in random places. Base the fine on any photo of their medallion taken while loading up in a random place in a traffic lane.

          Of course, 9watts is correct that the global impact of building a fleet of semi-disposable battery-powered scooters for every city on the planet is a lot more than nothing. Similarly, the global impact of a transportation model that encourages people to buy and operate more private cars to provide public transportation is potentially huge. What’s the embodied energy of the number of private cars it would take to replace a bus? Or 100 bikes?

          Unintended consequences are always out there: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/20/magazine/palm-oil-borneo-climate-catastrophe.html

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  • Scott Mizée November 20, 2018 at 10:04 am

    And today is the FIRST day I finally saw 3 scooters show up on my street corner this morning. Looking forward to their return to our city sometime soon. They are a great option for urban mobility.

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  • Richard November 20, 2018 at 1:43 pm

    colton
    “I won’t have this option tomorrow.”You do. If you use them regularly, they are no further out of reach than owning a bike.Recommended 0

    Please see above comment mentioning full-time bike commuter who temporarily used scooters due to an injury. Thanks for the helpful tip though..

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  • Hess Mills November 20, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    It’s interesting that since the pilot ends today, the data collected will omit the winter and spring months. Presumably there would have been a dip in scooter activity during inclement weather, so the statistics that PBOT presents to the public will only cover the part of the year with the best weather.

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    • Chris I November 20, 2018 at 4:16 pm

      Conspiracy!

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    • billyjo November 21, 2018 at 8:18 am

      And the data that the companies offer to investors also only show the good weather….

      Plus, it’s dark and rainy. There will be far, far more accidents in the winter months. The companies don’t have lights on the scooters.

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      • Moleskin November 21, 2018 at 11:01 am

        All the ones I’ve seen have lights?

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        • X November 21, 2018 at 7:04 pm

          The scooters were surprising visible at night, considering that their lights, in particular the tail lights, were so close to the ground.

          If there is ever an upgrade on the Nike bikes, maybe their headlights could be just a bit brighter? Not hundreds of lumens brighter, just a German standard headlight. Of course people who are concerned by that can just clip on their own, it’s a lot easier to pack around than a helmet.

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  • q November 20, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    It was unfortunate that there was a helmet requirement for scooters. It seemed like a lot of people were immediately dismissing scooter riders as irresponsible scofflaws based on their lack of helmets. Dropping the helmet requirement would have at least forced people to argue against them on other, more important grounds.

    The helmet requirement gave people who may have been predisposed to not liking scooters a built-in way to claim scooter riders have no respect for the law or safety, regardless of how they actually rode.

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    • soren November 21, 2018 at 11:34 am

      “It seemed like a lot of people were immediately dismissing scooter riders as irresponsible scofflaws based on their lack of helmets.”

      Some in PBOT has been hostile to e-scooters from the outset so it’s no surprise that they reinforced this perception with anti-active transportation safety-nannysim.

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      • soren November 21, 2018 at 11:39 am

        *have

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      • DNF November 21, 2018 at 12:05 pm

        the helmet requirement is actually a state law, ditto the rules on using bike lanes, etc. See: https://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/Forms/DMV/6619.pdf

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        • soren November 21, 2018 at 3:41 pm

          State law requires people scooting to signal every turn or lane change at least 100 feet prior to making this manouver. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone scooting signaling their turns. In fact, signaling turns while scooting is dangerous.

          The choice of PBOT to emphasize a similarly silly helmet law that has little public benefit, discourages people from using alternative transportation modes, and is contrary to Portland’s Comprehensive Pland is beyond ridiculous.

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  • David Hampsten November 21, 2018 at 3:46 am

    Our city just passed an ordinance allowing and regulating electric scooters at least through August 2019. Both Bird and Lime helped to write the ordinance here in Greensboro NC.

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    • Chris I November 21, 2018 at 2:24 pm

      Sometimes, regulatory capture is a good thing!

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  • Scott Mizée November 21, 2018 at 9:26 am

    So… I was surprised to see 4 Lime scooters out on the sidewalk and available for rent this morning on NW 23rd. Are scooter companies risking a bad relationship with the city and continuing to operate after the pilot period has ended?

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  • Jimmywoo November 21, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    You all crack me up with your overwrought opinion making. They are scooters for crissake. Come on over to my place and yell at my kids about their scooters if it makes you feel better. Grow up.

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    • Chris I November 21, 2018 at 2:25 pm

      I think you meant to direct this towards the commenters over at Oregonlive. Most of the comments here indicate support of the scooters.

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    • 9watts November 21, 2018 at 4:15 pm

      Do your kids’ scooters have batteries and motors?
      ‘Cuz the ones we’re talking about do. That is what makes all the difference.
      A mere kick scooter is in a different league altogether.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty November 21, 2018 at 4:22 pm

        Though still inseparable from the global supply chain.

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        • 9watts November 21, 2018 at 4:28 pm

          Wouldn’t have to be, though.
          I could whip out a serviceable scooter from scratch in my basement in a day or two out of local materials. Same with a bike or a skate board. The ancestors of all of these were made that way. Not so with the battery-electric versions.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty November 21, 2018 at 4:39 pm

            Can you? Where would your materials and tools come from? Your bearings? The machinery used to make them? And how much would it cost you (including a fair valuation of your time)?

            Is it theoretically possible to break global ties and do everything locally? Probably. But it will never happen. It’s far too inefficient.

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            • 9watts November 21, 2018 at 4:53 pm

              My point wasn’t that I can compete with Razor’s prices, that would be absurd since the only way any of these global supply chains can function is with ubiquitous cheap fossil fuels. My point was that I could make one without any foreign parts. If I wanted to use ball bearings I could source some made in the US, but the version in my head would be entirely of wood. Some woods are self-lubricating and work quite well as bearings. I could whittle all the parts, and bore them by hand, though in my imagined example I would use the fleet of Craigslist-sourced vintage machine tools (all made in the US) to fabricate the parts.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty November 21, 2018 at 5:37 pm

                You could whittle yourself a scooter out of self-lubricating wood using vintage tools, but I hope you see why this sort of solution would only work for a handful of people.

                There have been global supply chains since the middle ages, if not earlier. They are more ubiquitous now, of course. Aside from one-offs like scooter-whittling, building anything complex requires using them directly or indirectly. And that’s fine, since they make us all more efficient at what we do.

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              • 9watts November 21, 2018 at 5:44 pm

                You are missing the point. These global supply chains we know so well are not long for this world, will soon dry up and blow away. Just because we are used to this, or because in the twisted logics of late stage capitalism this appears efficient (whatever that means) doesn’t mean we must celebrate it as a solution to our micro-local transportation needs.
                Resilience is more likely if we put some distance between ourselves and dependence on global, fossil fuel drenched, supply chains.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty November 21, 2018 at 5:47 pm

                Yes, those networks could disappear. And if they do, new supply chains will pop up to provide a similar service, perhaps using wind powered ships or some new idea we haven’t thought of yet.

                The one thing I am pretty certain about is that absent fossil fuel, trade will not cease.

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              • 9watts November 21, 2018 at 6:27 pm

                “The one thing I am pretty certain about is that absent fossil fuel, trade will not cease.”

                No it won’t cease, but the volume we’ve gotten used to will shrink by 90+%.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty November 21, 2018 at 7:32 pm

                Or it might not. You’re assuming an absence of highly motivated and clever people able to rethink the problem.

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              • 9watts November 21, 2018 at 7:53 pm

                Nope. This isnt about clever or not clever, this is about energy density. You can’t move the billions of tons of stuff around the world and back and forth and round and round, as we do now, with anything but cheap fossil fuels. Wind, sun, wave power, gravity, nuclear, hydro, draft animals, they are all fine for certain things, but cheap globe-spanning transport is not among them.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty November 21, 2018 at 8:45 pm

                I disagree, but if you’re right, were so screwed, there’s no sense worrying about it. So I won’t.

                Happy Thanksgiving!

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  • Front1245 November 22, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    Wow, surprised there are not more comments here, figured this would be a way longer thread.

    Wonder where all the voluble proponents are now??

    Perhaps their “pilot project” ended as well, comments for $$$?

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  • Vince November 22, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    Thought the roll out was lacking a bit of planning, and the scooters on the sidewalks were unnerving, but I saw scooters being used in parts of town where no one ever takes a shared bike. There were scooters being used in Hillsdale, Multnomah, and I saw even one parked in Washington county. Could something with an electric power source be a more attracrive method of transportation in parts of town with hills?

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  • Todd Boulanger November 23, 2018 at 2:44 pm

    As I have been saying for months: PBoT did the e-scooter companies a big favour in making it a 4 monthish pilot and not a traditional 6 months pilot…thus ending it before the wet and cold weather would have likley caused a lower total trips per day AND thus higher per trip user injuriy rate, along with operational challenges…likley: falling battery capacity, fewer juicers/ or higher juicer cost per scooter per night, scooter replacement cycles, etc. This may be why the e-scooter companies have not fought too hard to reopen the pilot period thru the big grey wet winter here… PS. Has anyone done a e-scooter test through a wet leaf strewn bike lane yet…kinda like WW’s e-scooter speed test this summer?

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    • soren November 24, 2018 at 9:29 am

      Given lower speeds and lower center of gravity, I’d expect e-scooters to be less dangerous than bicyles on wet leaves.

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  • adam November 26, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    does PBOT have a mandate to help or just to obstruct and delay? what a strange organization that must be.

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  • mark smith December 2, 2018 at 10:29 am

    It’s a good thing they did the same process with uber and Lyft.

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