The Portland Bureau of Transportation says last summer’s Shared Electric Scooter Pilot Program was such a success they plan to bring them back for a one-year pilot program this spring.
Here’s the announcement (emphases mine):
The Portland Bureau of Transportation today released the 2018 E-Scooter Findings Report. Drawing on scooter use data, public opinion polling, staff observations and other sources, the report evaluates Portland’s first e-scooter pilot conducted from July 23 to Nov. 30, 2018. Based on this evaluation, the bureau also announced a one-year pilot program that will bring e-scooters back to Portland streets this spring.
“I’m glad that PBOT took a proactive approach, requiring e-scooter companies to share their data and to serve East Portland,” said Transportation Commissioner Chloe Eudaly. “While this technology has the potential to reduce congestion and pollution, I remain concerned about the unlawful use of e-scooters on sidewalks and in City parks, and the impact of e-scooters on people with mobility challenges or vision impairment. We will continue to seek public input on how to best serve all Portlanders.”
New data gathered by Multnomah County Health Department for PBOT show e-scooters were subject to risks similar to other ways of getting around. Scooter-related injuries (including injuries from non-motorized scooters) were a small portion of total traffic crash injuries, accounting for about 5 percent of the estimated 3,220 of total traffic crash injury visits to emergency rooms and urgent care centers during the pilot period. Scooters generated 176 visits or less than half the 429 visits for bicycle-related injuries.
“We recognize people are interested in understanding the risk associated with a citywide scooter ride-share program, and this analysis provides an important baseline from which to make that determination,” said Environmental Health Director Jae Douglas, Ph.D. “After reviewing emergency department and urgent care clinic data, we found that e-scooters have risks similar to other parts of the transportation system. We did not find a disproportionate risk that would discourage the city from allowing a scooter ride-share pilot.”
A start date for the second pilot program has not been set. PBOT staff will brief community groups and transportation advisory committees on the findings report and seek input on how the bureau should conduct the second pilot program. A longer one-year pilot program will give PBOT the chance to test new measures to improve the use of e-scooters.
The bureau will also seek input through an on-line open house, which is set to begin in the coming days. The open house will give Portlanders the chance to submit their ideas about how the bureau can address some of the significant challenges related to scooter use, including sidewalk riding, improper parking and securing access to this new technology for all Portlanders. People wishing to be notified of the online open house, should sign up for email updates at the Shared E-Scooter Pilot Program website.
Here are the positive findings of the report:
A majority of Portlanders viewed e-scooters positively.
In a representative citywide poll conducted in December by DHM Research, 62 percent of all Portlanders viewed e-scooters positively at the end of the pilot. Support was even higher among Portlanders under 35 (71 percent), people of color (74 percent), and those with incomes below $30,000 (66 percent).
Scooter safety risks were similar to other ways of getting around.
According to the Multnomah County Health Department, scooter related injuries increased from less than one per week before the pilot to about 10 per week during the pilot. Weekly emergency room visits peaked in late August and early September before decreasing to near pre-pilot levels by the end of the pilot in November.
Portlanders primarily used e-scooters for transportation.
71 percent of Portlanders reported that they most frequently used e-scooters to get to a destination, while only a third of respondents (28.6 percent) said they most frequently used e-scooters for recreation or exercise.
E-scooters replaced driving and ride-hailing trips.
34 percent of Portland riders and 48 percent of visitors took an e-scooter instead of driving a personal car or using Uber, Lyft, or a taxi.
Having safe scooter infrastructure mattered to riders.
Based on scooter ride data, riders preferred riding on low-traffic streets such as Neighborhood Greenways and on streets with bike lanes. This was also confirmed by rider survey data.
It wasn’t all roses and unicorns. Here are some of the findings that illustrate how, “e-scooter use created conflict with pedestrians and underperformed on some City goals”:
Portlanders reported widespread illegal sidewalk riding and incorrect scooter parking.
With speeds capped at 15 mph, scooters are appropriate for bike lanes or low-volume streets, but they are too fast for use on sidewalks, where they make it unsafe or uncomfortable for people walking or using mobility devices. And while staff observations showed most scooters parked properly in the sidewalk furnishing zone, improperly parked scooters negatively impacted accessibility and created a hazard for people with visual impairments.
E-scooter use in parks impacted other users and presented a significant management challenge for Portland Parks & Recreation staff.
Although bicycles are allowed in Portland parks, including Waterfront Park and the Eastbank Esplanade, motorized vehicles are not. E-scooter use on Portland parks trails violated Portland Parks & Recreation’s rules, but most riders (66 percent) said they weren’t aware of the rules.
E-scooter companies did not consistently comply with the East Portland fleet requirement and the pilot program showed other equity challenges.
Companies did not consistently comply with the East Portland fleet requirement. Companies only enrolled 43 Portlanders in a low-income plan. Along with staff observations, this suggests low company performance in aligning business practices with City equity goals.
They’ve also released this cool interactive map of all the routes taken by scooter users:
PBOT will present findings from the report at tonight’s (1/15) monthly meeting of the Pedestrian Advisory Committee. The meeting is open to the public. It takes place in the Pettygrove Room in City Hall from 6:00 to 8:30 pm. And tomorrow (1/16) from 4:00 to 6:00 pm at Ecotrust (721 NW 9th Ave), Forth Mobility will host a networking event titled, What’s next for e-scooters in Portland?.
You can learn more and download the report here – www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/e-scooter.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and email@example.com
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Eudaly: “While this technology has the potential to reduce congestion and pollution…”
“Average trip length 1.15 and 1.6mi” (can we get the distribution of trip length?)
“34% of Portlanders and 48% of visitors claimed they used escooters instead of driving a personal car, or taking an Uber, Lyft, or taxi.”
The numbers don’t really add up. The average trip length is so short as to make it statistically impossible for more than a tiny fraction of total trips to be in the band where a taxi or Lyft would make any sense (to me). Or am I missing how people use Ubers? To go 2 miles?
“Or am I missing how people use Ubers? To go 2 miles?”
Also, scooter users are, by definition, multi-modal in that they walk and scoot. (This also stands in stark contrast to the convenient but unsafe pickups by TNCs.)
If people are hailing (or were hailing) Ubers to cover 2 miles then we must revisit Ivan Illich’s reflections on dependence (below). Making walking or biking sexy again would go a lot further in solving this ‘problem’ than breathless pursuit of fleets of juicers, 4-month e-scooter product lives, and the toxic wake of the lithium lifecycle.
The city of portland has gone out of its way to coddle these abusive, dangerous, and predatory companies even after they repeatedly violated laws and rules. Heck, the city even approved them permanently after what was supposed to be a temporary trial.
The contrasting treatment of TNCs and e-scooters underscores the City’s and PBOT’s gross car-centric bias.
You see the difference between these two 21st century ‘solutions’ while I see the similarities: venture capital, multinational corporations, leveraged buyouts, global supply chains, wage slavery, privatizing slices of the public realm, and above all an extension of capital/money/services into a new realm that could be served by human locomotion with none of the entanglements just enumerated.
Comparing e-scooters to Uber/Lyft cars/suvs in terms of their negative externalities is false equivalency.
Haven’t we learned that they are in the meantime the same companies?
I wasn’t suggesting that the emissions are equivalent. I was pointing to the structural similarities.
Never underestimate human laziness and the ability to profit from provided convenience.
Sure, but should we be making policy based on this interpretation, or could/should we hold ourselves to a higher standard?
Many of us do.
Companies have developed newer more durable models that are designed to be easily repairable. The City of Portland has the ability to mandate this — and they should.
As I stated below, I would like to see the city regulate these predatory gig economy companies to the point where they leave the city and create municipal cooperatives. This has been remarkably successful in Austin.
With the competition of Uber and Lyft, RideAustin isn’t successful, it is actually barely hanging on. The article doesn’t discuss why people bailed on RideAustin so fast, but one can imagine it has something to do with cost…
Which is why they should be banned.
IMO, transportation is a basic societal functions, like healthcare, that should not be managed by the private sector.
Nah, ride hailing apps are not basic societal functions to be managed by the public sector. The ability of going to where you want when you want is not remotely a right, it is a privileged luxury. Need to do it affordably, take the existing publicly subsidized bus or light rail.
The public sector does not have the best track record either.
The fundamental models of Uber and Lyft are to subsidize the cost of rides with VC money until all competitors have been driven out. RideAustin was a competitor who couldn’t race to the bottom in the same way.
Sure, and the competitors in this sense were taxis, another great example of a very flawed ride hailing service. In both instances, particularly in a place like Portland, these are luxury services, as there are more affordable options available that provide similar levels of transit. So, I am comfortable with the competition playing out, considering as a consumer, I am currently the one benefiting.
People commonly drive insanely short distances. For many Americans, the idea of walking even 1mi in an urban environment is daunting and/or strange.
Depending on the specifics, that strategy could easily yield four or five short repetitions of the dirtiest phase of the drive cycle. The engine never warms up between those short stretches, and so you’re actually prolonging the criteria-pollutant-emitting cold-engine phase.
If, then yes.
I guess my interpretation of the survey responses on which we seem to be basing our celebration of these e-scooters is that people are (any why wouldn’t they be?) answering strategically. The survey questions were, as I recall, pretty leading.
So I’m taking all this talk of reducing car trips with a handful of salt.
Quoting q’s comment from here: https://bikeportland.org/2018/10/22/city-of-portland-releases-e-scooter-survey-results-291323#comment-6971397
“On the other hand, I get the feeling–first from the survey questions, and the fact that it was created really only for scooter users to respond to, and now from how PBOT seems to be interpreting the results–that PBOT is deceiving itself and misleading everyone else as to how successful the scooter program has been.”
“For many Americans, the idea of walking even 1mi in an urban environment is daunting and/or strange.”
In that case, this program is only affirming that regrettable trend.
and for many, physically challenging.
Not if they get in the habit. wspob used to trot this one out about the imagined percentage of our fellow bipeds who couldn’t bike. I readily admit that a high percentage has no experience biking or walking for transport, but to say that they couldn’t is an entirely different and I think unsupported statement.
I can only speak to my own experience: Several times I used scooters in conjunction with bus trips as first/last mile options. When that option isn’t available to me, as it hasn’t been since they removed them, I use car2go.
Classic greenwashing. PBOT loves this stuff.
There are plenty of reasons why one would drive or grab a lyft/uber/taxi rather than walk 2 miles. Time limitations, too young or too old, physiological limitations, not wanting to show up sweaty or drenched, dressed up and not wearing walking shoes, pouring rain or snow, recreational beverages or cannabinoids (though I would prefer such individuals to NOT use a scooter, bike, or drive a vehicle under such conditions), etc…
The habitual passenger cannot grasp the folly of traffic based overwhelmingly on transport. His inherited perceptions of space and time and of personal pace have been industrially deformed. He has lost the power to conceive of himself outside the passenger role. To “gather” for him means to be brought together by vehicles. He takes freedom of movement to be the same as one’s claim on propulsion. He has lost faith in the political power of the feet and of the tongue. As a result, what he wants is not more liberty as a citizen but better service as a client. He does not insist on his freedom to move and to speak to people but on his claim to be shipped and to be informed by media. He wants a better product rather than freedom from servitude to it. It is vital that he come to see that the acceleration he demands is self-defeating, and that it must result in a further decline of equity, leisure, and autonomy.
So, “S/he wants a better product rather than freedom from servitude to it.” = bring on the fuzzy fur modal handcuffs!
I’ve always believed that much of the opposition to e-scooters is rooted in conservatism and classism. (Accessibility and safety concerns, excepted.)
The scooters are 100% a cash grab by uber lobbyists who are heavily pushing their influence on cities like Portland. I would have thought that communists like yourself would be against them. Especially since predictably, the scooter companies did not even come close to meeting their East Portland equity constraints.
My family fled from a communist nation so I’m no communist.
My position is that we should ban uber and lyft and create a non-profit cooperative TNC a la Austin Texas.
I feel the same way about e-scooter corps but because they represent an alternative to incredibly harmful automobility I’m willing to accept them if they are sufficiently regulated (e.g. we redistribute enough profit to address negative externalities and equity).
IMO driving and cars are a 100% cash grab from automakers, oil drillers, and their enablers at ODOT. And I would much rather have our city seiged by scooters and scooter riders than by cars and car drivers.
But why should our two choices be which flavor of capitalist siege to accept?
Seems like a poor position to stake out. Bicycles or feet do not represent any sort of siege.
those aren’t our only two choices 9watts! You are taking my quick comment way too seriously.
My point is, I think scooters are a net positive for our city and I haven’t read/heard/seen anything to make me think we should prevent them from being used.
And I pull out the comparison to cars/driving to try and make the point of what’s at stake here. IMO scooters will reduce driving and they can dramatically shift our traffic culture in a positive way.
“those aren’t our only two choices 9watts!”
I’m glad we agree!
“IMO scooters will reduce driving”
I think many of us want to believe this. The prospect certainly offers both the car skeptics and the techno optimists something to embrace, celebrate. But I don’t feel we’ve yet been shown anything like a statistically or methodologically valid case for this. The PBOT survey you reported on some months back failed on both counts. Once we can point to something better I’ll rejoin the conversation on this.
In the meantime my hype sensors continue to flash red.
Ah, the classic “but cars” argument. This is why no one takes bike advocates seriously.
I have a lot more to my argument Kelly. That was a quick thought I shared. Sounds like we disagree about scooters. That’s OK. I appreciate your perspective.
Given that escooter trips are short (under two miles) and predominantly in the downtown area, what percentage of escooter trips would have been walking trips without the availability of this new form of motorized transportation?
According to the report, 42% self reported this for the whole pilot area. I copied the relevant passage below in the comments.
Sure. People rich with time, walk/ride. People rich with money, drive/park. People in between fight about scooters on bikeportland.
If my math is correct, the most expensive option per mile of all of those you list would be the e-scooter.
I agree, though parking is a bit of a difficult cost to account for. Again though, the rich would park in a garage, pushing up the overall cost per mile, but the ability to park for $2 hours on the street is incredibly cheap. Regardless, scooters as they stand are not terribly affordable, and to get out from under the influence of venture capital, they are going to have to raise prices.
I drive a lot, rarely pay for parking, like a couple times a year rarely.
It matters–a lot–where and when you park.
And, I’d guess, the most fun. Whee!
I don’t think they understand what the words “pilot program” mean
Ugh. The day the scooters return might be the day I give up biking for good. It’s gotten so bad out there, I’ve been considering it for a while now and the scooters are the last straw. Back to bussing I guess.
It’s fine. You need to chill out.
Oh whew is that all it takes? I feel much better now, thanks.
You won’t live very long with that attitude. Stress is toxic, and negative people don’t live very long.
Would you tell a woman that?
I’m not sure the bad experiences you had. I didn’t experience any (not to negate yours, I just don’t have a frame of reference).
But is it possible that those bad experiences had a lot to do with a short trial of a brand new technology? I’d expect things to settle down greatly as folks learn and adapt. The novelty of taking daring joy rides at 10 cents a minute (or whatever it is) wears off pretty quickly. Folks learn the rules. Norms suppress most bad actors.
Anyway, that’s what I expect, and hope you’ll find biking still viable for you.
This reminds me of the of the letter to the editor the Oregonian posted years ago, from someone claiming they were leaving the city (specifically, East Tabor) because all the bicyclists on their neighborhood streets were stressing them out.
How about learning to get along?
This was meant to be a response to the “The day the scooters return might be the day I give up biking for good” comment further up.
What in particular has been giving you trouble? I was anticipating that I’d have a lot of trouble when the e-scoots were released, but I don’t think I had a single negative interaction. I commute ~12 miles a day, plus lunchtime errands, etc.
By my back-of-the-envelope calculation, the city took in around $190,000 in revenue between the pilot fee and the $0.25 per trip.
It was actually $187,577 according to the report with another $24,500 in application fees, permit fees , fines, and penalties. Buried on page 30 is the financial summary, which shows that the pilot actually lost money largely due to the extensive outreach that PBOT performed along with significant design and evaluation charges. So any hopes that people had that there would be some added infrastructure as a result of the New Mobility Account that scooters were paying into will have to wait awhile.
I didn’t see this called out so I’ll post it here. The most common complaint I hear about the scooters were their use on sidewalks, though the people who complain don’t seem to connect the dots as to why. Thankfully, PBOT has. They broke out the sidewalk riding by type of street and found a strong correlation:
– When riding on a street with a neighborhood greenway, zero percent of riders used the sidewalk.
– When riding on a street with a protected bike lane, 8 percent of riders used the sidewalk.
– When riding on a street with a bike lane, 21 percent of riders used the sidewalk.
– When riding on a street with no bike facilities, 39 percent of riders used the sidewalk.
When posted speed limits are 30 MPH or higher, most users rode illegally on the sidewalk.
– Where the speed limit is 20 mph, 18 percent of riders used the sidewalk.
– Where the speed limit is 30 mph, 50 percent of all riders used the sidewalk.
– Where the speed limit is 35 mph, 66 percent of riders used the sidewalk.
PBOT, please keep these scooters out of the bike lane. They go way too fast weaving around and make it super dangerous to ride a bike in them.
How do you propose PBOT do that?
Rottweilers wearing laser goggles!
You know, I have just one request. And that is to have sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads. Now my cycloptic colleage informs me that that can’t be done.
How many crashes have been caused by scooter operators in bike lanes? I’m legitimately curious, because I rode all over town last summer and never had a problem. I did have a few motor vehicle operators drive their 4,000+lb vehicles too close to me on several occasions, though.
Telling indeed. Scooters can be a great complement to bicycles and bicycle advocacy. Taking space from cars in the name of walking, bicycles and scooters is just easier than taking space from cars in the name of walking and bicycles only. I’m in favor of eliminating the helmet requirement and allowing sidewalk riding <5MPH where facilities are not otherwise available (i.e. most of the Central City). That way, there would be far greater broader public pressure to build protected spaces. I hope this 2nd pilot leads to broader demand for safe infrastructure. We should stop killing people with cars, before we complain about scooters.
“We should stop killing people with cars, before we complain about scooters.”
I’m surprised by these exhortations.
Isn’t the above statement a textbook example of whataboutism?
Though shalt not criticize e-scooters because cars are (always) worse?
Perhaps it is better to just stop complaining about scooters until there is actually something to complain about. At this point, we have minor annoyances, but no real public health or quality of life problem to discuss.
We like to complain about minor annoyances.
I think you complain too much and it annoys me 🙂
But the whole point of comments on BP is to complain about stuff!
I’ve only taken one scooter trip of about 3 miles, and it was in Atlanta. But my one experience was precisely on point with those stats. When there was a bike lane, I mostly used it (there were some extra sketchy bike lanes). When I was on a slow neighborhood street, I rode in the street. On several stretches of the trip, bike lanes went away on faster moving roads. I wasn’t willing to take the lane (it’s Atlanta after-all) and took to the sidewalk instead. I did so judiciously, as little as possible, and was careful to slow down while doing so, but it was something I decided was necessary.
“They broke out the sidewalk riding by type of street and found a strong correlation…”
And this is a major why these scooters are a good thing. As scooter users share the inadequate facilities we are often forced to use, they become a strong additional constituency for improvements.
Quoting: “New data gathered by Multnomah County Health Department for PBOT show e-scooters were subject to risks similar to other ways of getting around. Scooter-related injuries (including injuries from non-motorized scooters) were a small portion of total traffic crash injuries, accounting for about 5 percent of the estimated 3,220 of total traffic crash injury visits to emergency rooms and urgent care centers during the pilot period. ***Scooters generated 176 visits or less than half the 429 visits for bicycle-related injuries.***”
OK, so scooters produced less than half as many injuries as bicycles. Surely though there are far more than twice as many cycling trips taken during the pilot period? I’d be stunned if there weren’t at least 10 times more cycling trips than scooter trips. So wouldn’t this mean that people are getting injured on scooters at far higher rates than bicycles?
I wondered the same thing, but figured it just couldn’t be that they would make what looks like a very elementary math error like that.
When you’re cooking the books, might as well put em under the boiler.
From p. 22 of the report:
“The  scooter-related injury visits accounted for about 5 percent of total traffic crash injury visits during the pilot period. There were no e-scooter-related deaths during
the pilot period. Although the number of e-scooter visits was lower than the number of bicycle-related visits (429), without comparable data on how many trips were taken and distance traveled while bicycling, we can’t directly compare injury rates across modes.”
While I understand the discussion about sidewalk riding is important, I’m pretty confused by the comments regarding riding within the park (particularly waterfront park.) That seems like a “it’s against the rules because it’s against the rules” type comment in the above release.
I would like to see the inner core of the city flooded with escooters turning the auto traffic to a 5 mph crawl . It would be like a negative feedback loop, the more scooters the worse traveling by car will be and the more people will switch to scooters and bikes. Kind of like the Dinosaurs being overwhelmed with a swarm of locusts.
While I haven’t ever had a need to use the scooters, and didn’t love dealing with unaware, weaving scooter riders in bike lanes and such — overall I think they make bicycle riders safer. Why? Because their general unpredictability made many drivers uncomfortable and forced them to drive more carefully and with more awareness. (I can’t tell you how many drivers complained about how they now had to be even more careful because of those crazy scooters!!). Introducing things that disrupt predictability (chicanes, for example) is a long practiced planning tool to make people slow down. I think this effect of scooters on the street outweighs any annoyance I would feel navigating around them.
I had the same conversation with a few friends that mostly drive places, but also bike. They hated the scooters because they had to pay attention to something that may or may not act in a predictable manner. Having this conversation multiple times made me love the scooters. Anything to wake up drivers and make them nervous about driving is a great thing. And if I’m being really honest the unpredictability of the scooters made me pay more attention biking and that is also a good thing. Lets clog the whole city with them! Slow everyone down!!
Funny how the complaints many cyclists have about scooters – “don’t ride where they’re supposed to” … “don’t follow the rules” … “behave in an unpredictable manner” – are *EXACTLY* the same complaints many drivers have about us.
1. Nice to see a significant amount of blue in East Portland. Not like the central cluster, but definitely blue.
2. Have they said whether the second pilot will include all 3 companies again?
My main question is whether the Scooter companies will ever make enough money to be sustainable. Based on the $1 per trip + $.015/minute cost, I figure each scooter only yielded $235 in revenue before the city’s cut. That might be enough to cover the cost of the scooter itself, but certainly not enough to cover charging and rebalancing.
Great question and totally dependent on the actual mentality of the user, independent of suspect surveys. If (a big if) they really are replacing ride share/personal driving, they should be able to quickly increase pricing to profitability, reduce their VC subsidy and keep their prices under those alternatives. If they are actually a tourist novelty and replacing walking trips, there will be no ability to increase pricing, because people will just opt for the cheaper option of walking. Obviously, given that all three companies scooters are steaming piles of trash from a durability standpoint (i.e. cheap), the companies themselves don’t actually know what folks motivations are, but of course, they also don’t care.
Not to mention the money spent paying people to collect and charge the devices for them.
=$640,000 I think.
From the report:
“While a large portion of e-scooter trips replaced car and ride- hailing trips, e-scooters also replaced lower-emission trips. Thinking of their last e-scooter trip, 42 percent of Portlanders said they would have either walked (37 percent) or ridden a personal bicycle (5 percent) had e-scooters not been available.
Finally, e-scooter operations likely added personal motor vehicle trips to the transportation system, to deploy and retrieve e-scooters each day. The extent and overall impact to the transportation system and traffic congestion is unknown.”
In the annals of boosterism it shall be recorded that the pull quote indicating 34% of Portlanders intimated they would have used an auto instead of the e-scooter—affirming the top listed objective—is splashed everywhere, while the quotes above suggesting a higher percentage (42%) would have walked or biked, is buried on p. 20 of the report.
How come Bird, Lime, etc. aren’t required to provide adaptive scooters for the differently-abled? BIKETOWN has to; Uber and Lyft are required to provide wheelchair-capable vehicles. Why do the scooter companies get a free pass?
Has anyone asked them to?
You are drawing the boundaries very narrowly indeed.
How many scooters could a single Tesla 75KWh battery pack run, I wonder?
At a four month product life not as many as you might have assumed. We don’t know if the reported four-month lifecycle of these e-scooters also applies to the battery.
But your suggested comparison is flawed. We shouldn’t be heedlessly mining lithium for any of these uses. Just like we shouldn’t be extracting all the other rare, toxic, finite metals and hydrocarbons which go into all of our 21st Cemtury electronic or other goodies.
Although e-scooter trips replaced some walking/biking/transit trips, it likely did so because someone wanted to get where they were going faster, and/or less sweaty. For some folks, they wanted to save money over a more expensive option such as an Uber/Lyft/etc and as a consequence they generated less carbon emissions. To look at e-scooters as better or worse than biking, walking, transit, carshare, and rideshare is missing a big part of the picture. e-scooters created another option that doesn’t require someone to own or park a private automobile. In some cases, e-scooters likely combined with other non-driving options to provide more affordable and viable mobility for folks. Given the millions of decisions that people in this region make every day on how they get from point A to point B, e-scooters appeal to many and provide a viable enhanced option to consider. This far outweighs many of the concerns about sharing space with them. From my personal experience, I would be lying to say sharing space with e-scooters made my transportation any more dangerous than existing pedestrian, bicycle, and automobile traffic. I’m looking forward to their return!
If BikePortland readers are concerned about e-scooters being used on the Eastbank Esplanade because they are not allowed as motorized electric vehicles, then they should also be pushing for enforcement to stop e-bikes, such as the increasing numbers of electric family bikes and cargo bikes. I ride the Esplanade daily on a regular bike and don’t mind the scooters or e-bikes, but fair is fair. Before we get too righteous about scooter users not following the law, I think we need to think about how we use our own favored mode to avoid hypocrisy.
I like the scooters in theory, but actually riding them didn’t seem all that great. I don’t understand why we aren’t moving to public eBikes instead. Compared to scooters, I find eBikes much more comfortable to ride and much easier to control. Plus they make it a lot easier to input some human power and get some exercise, in a way that is still not too taxing.
Ebikes are great, but cost several times more than scooters while generating exactly the same amount of revenue. I base this on LimeBike’s rates, which are exactly the same for eBikes in Seattle as they are for eScooters in Portland and Minneapolis.
About “speeds capped at 15 mph”: That’s not exactly been my experience. On a number of occasions I’ve ridden Lime scooters whose speedos indicated 17 or 18 mph on flat ground, often even into a light headwind. That’s actually REALLY fast.
While I support the scooter programs, I’d actually like to see them capped at an *actual* 12 mph. I would prefer to go 12 mph on them myself, but the on-off accelerator switches on these things require you to frantically pulse-and-glide to accomplish that. 12 mph would allow for a much improved reaction distance (for both scooter operators and nearby pedestrians), greatly reducing conflicts, and also hugely reduces the chance of serious injury. If the scooter’s wheel catches on something at 12 mph there’s a very good chance of landing on your feet. At 17 mph, much less likely.
I look at a park parking lot from my work window. I see people drive to the ticket pay station, park, get out and buy their ticket, get back in, drive literally no more than 30 feet to their parking space, and park. Then on their way out, they get in their car, drive 100 feet, park illegally in a no-parking zone in front of the restrooms to use the restrooms, then leave. This isn’t the unique occurance, it’s common.
It would be great if the park had scooters so people didn’t have to drive to the bathroom.
Or at least in the bathroom, especially the large ADA one.
Scooters were popular on the park paths, even though they weren’t legal. They seemed to fit in well with people walking and biking. Lots of families mixing modes–kids on scooters, parent or parents jogging or biking…I loved seeing them. The use was 100% recreational. Those trips probably replaced walking, biking or staying at home. If those people hadn’t been riding in the park, I doubt most would have used scooters on the street.
It’s the riveting “This American Life” podcast they’re listening to.
“I look at a park parking lot from my work window. I see people drive to the ticket pay station, park, get out and buy their ticket, get back in, drive literally no more than 30 feet to their parking space, and park.”
We should give this state of affairs more thought.
“It would be great if the park had scooters so people didn’t have to drive to the bathroom.”
Because right now Hello,Kitty’s dry humor perfectly encapsulates our stance toward these e-devices.