People love scooters and they’re replacing car trips says City of Portland survey

(Photo: City of Portland)

“The results suggest scooters are a popular new transit option for Portlanders and visitors alike,” reads a statement released today by the Portland Bureau of Transportation based on a survey of scooter users. 4,500 people responded to the questionnaire which asked 75,000 people about riding habits, safety behaviors, knowledge of riding laws, and more.

Here are the key findings as shared by PBOT:

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Portland launches e-scooter rider survey, announces focus groups

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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Comment of the Week: Transit operator reminds us that scooter riders are not the problem

A man rides a scooter on NE 122nd near I-84.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Brendon Constans read our story about the free helmet giveaway and safety education event held in downtown Portland last week and felt his perspective as a transit vehicle operator would help the discussion.

Here’s what Brendon had to say (via Facebook):

“I have been a public transit operator for 7 years (TriMet bus operator, MAX operator, now Streetcar operator) and see the behavior of all road users on a regular basis throughout my shifts.

Here’s what I know from my experience:

Portland rarely, if ever, enforces the rules against car drivers either.

I see gross negligence by motorists all day, everyday.

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PBOT to host e-scooter safety event on Thursday

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:

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In bid to self-regulate, scooter company Bird unveils new data dashboard

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Bird just announced they have launched a new data dashboard to, “help cities incorporate and manage e-scooters into their transportation mix.”

A company spokesman tells us, “For starters, the platform will include: A data dashboard of Bird usage; Geo-fencing capabilities to tell Bird riders not to ride or park somewhere; Community mode so anyone can report unsafe riding or parking; Rider education — ability to customize messages to a city’s rider base (such as “no riding on Main Street today because of the big parade.”).”

Bird is one of three scooter companies participating in the City of Portland’s Shared Electric Scooter Pilot Program which will run through the end of September.

Here’s the full announcement of the new features:

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Opinion: Scootering is very popular and hasn’t destroyed Portland

I, for one, welcome our new scooter overlords.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus)

Sorry to break the news to all the local journalists and civic pundits who are desperate for juicy scooter headlines; but so far the predicted scooterpocalypse has not materialized.

We’re almost three weeks into the City of Portland’s electric scooter pilot program and things seems to be going very smoothly. The injuries and deaths many predicted would befall reckless scooter operators haven’t happened. And the sidewalk obstructions and right-of-way issues appear to be no worse than before the scooters got here. Yes, there have been some immature people who’ve destroyed a few of them and we hear there are people downtown stripping them for parts, but those are expected outliers and not a really big deal.

On the flip side, the scooters have given thousands of people a new mobility option — a way to get around that is a million times better for our city than using a car or truck.

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Bring on the Bird-funded protected bike lanes!

Hand over the protected bike lanes and no one gets hurt.
(Photo: Juli Maus)

Curbed reported today that e-scooter startup Bird has pledged to donate $1 per day from each scooter they have in operation to fund the bikeways where their vehicles operate.

Sounds like an interesting idea. With Bird allowed to have nearly 700 scooters on the ground in Portland by the end of this week that would equal about $21,000 a month or $252,000 a year if the company sticks around after the initial pilot period. That’s a significant amount of funding given that the City of Portland can add buffers to 5.6 miles of bike lanes for $80,000 and their new protected bike lane design guide says the estimated cost of a basic, parking-protected bike lane is about $65,000 per mile.

And don’t forget, that voluntary contribution from Bird would be on top of the 25 cents per trip fee charged by the City of Portland. If the Bird scooters got 4 trips per day that would be another $8,400 per month — or about $101,000 a year — into city coffers from Bird alone.

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How’s the e-scooter launch going?

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

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

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

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

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

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PBOT opens e-scooter applications, pilot program to start this month

(Image: PBOT)

The City of Portland just opened its application process for a four-month Shared Electric Scooter Pilot Program.

PBOT says the total number of e-scooters allowed in the city will be capped at 2,500 and there will be a requirement that companies deploy 20 percent of the fleet in east Portland (as defined here). Top speed will be limited to 15 mph.

Here’s more from the announcement:

Throughout the Pilot Program, Shared Scooter companies will be expected to report on and mitigate impacts in several areas of concern. These include (but are not limited to): Safety and access for people walking, safety and access for people with disabilities and compliance with state law (including helmet requirements and the prohibition on sidewalk riding).

Through public engagement and program evaluation, City officials will determine whether and under what circumstances electric scooter sharing may be permitted to continue operating in the public right-of-way after the Pilot Program has ended. The bureau will use anonymized trip data analysis, user surveys, and intercept surveys to understand the potential benefits and burdens of e-scooter operations in Portland in relation to the City’s equity, mobility, and climate action goals.

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