There are now 587 more electric scooters on Portland streets than this time last year. In the first 10 weeks of the current pilot program, the City of Portland says 16 of those scooters were involved in a collision.
We can confirm that at least two of those collisions involved a bicycle rider. There was the infamous collision during the recent protests downtown that was caught on tape by KGW News (watch it below).
And back in July, reader Mark Senf sent us the image at right. He witnessed two young men on one scooter (technically illegal) collide with a bicycle rider at the intersection of Naito Parkway and SW Harvey Milk. Senf said the woman who was riding the bike suffered cuts and bruises along with a fractured shoulder. She was carted away via ambulance and her husband stayed behind to handle the details.
If you’re a low-car Portlander, you understand that driving around the city is often more trouble than it’s worth. You probably also find shared electric scooters to be a useful addition to the mobility mix. But where do these vehicles fit into the rules of the road?
Now there’s a handy new guide from a local law firm that lays it all out.
Our friends at Thomas, Coon, Newton & Frost have released, Oregon E-Scooter Rights: A Legal Guide for Electric Scooter Users (PDF). This is the fifth booklet from TCN&F since their popular Pedal Power cycling guide was published in 2000.
Portland’s second attempt at integrating electric scooters into the mobility mix could get started as early as April 26th.
And unlike the 2,000 scooters we had on the streets last year, the Portland Bureau of Transportation will start with 2,500 and estimates we could see as many as 9,000 if enough scooter companies play ball with a host of new regulations. PBOT says if all permits are granted and all operators qualify for incentives we could have 15,000 scooters in use by January 2020.
The new pilot is scheduled to last one year, after which PBOT says they’ll work with the public to develop a permanent program.
In their announcement today, PBOT released a mix of incentives and regulations that demonstrate the challenge they face to create a scooter program that leads to high ridership yet also addresses serious concerns raised by some people and organizations during the first pilot. At nearly 6,000 trips per day during the 120-day pilot last year, the scooters proved to be a valuable mobility option. However, due to a lack of safe space to ride them and a lack of consideration for others, too many people rode them on sidewalks and parked them in places that obstructed public right-of-way.[Read more…]
If you’ve missed electric scooters in Portland, you’ll be happy to hear they’ll start popping up again soon. Sort of.
While we don’t have any dates for another deployment, scooters will be back in the news as the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation releases its full report on the four-month pilot program next week.
That’s good timing for officials in Salem who are getting lobbied hard by Bird, a major scooter company and one of the three who participated in the Portland pilot. Salem planners will have plenty of data and analysis to pore over as they consider scooter prospects in the capital.
A story published today in the Statesman Journal reports that Bird executives have already bent the ear of Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett and city staff are likely to meet with the company soon to get their full pitch. That same story mentions the Portland pilot and confirms that PBOT plans to release a full report on it next week. Given the existing survey data and PBOT’s general tone about scooters, my hunch is the report will provide even more momentum for a second deployment.
And if scooters do get the green light in Salem, imagine the impact that could have on the minds of state legislators. A successful and high-profile deployment around the capital might help lawmakers see beyond the automobile when it comes to transportation policy.
Bird, the fastest company to ever reach a $1 billion valuation, set up shop on the steps of Portland City Hall today in a bid to get their product back out on the streets. Joining them were leaders from active transportation advocacy group The Street Trust and Forth Mobility, a nonprofit that promotes electric vehicles.
A leading electric scooter company will host a rally at City Hall on Wednesday at 12 noon. Bird says the event will feature speakers from nonprofits Forth Mobility (formerly Drive Oregon, an EV advocacy group) and The Street Trust. The event is billed as a way to, “Unify in demand for immediate end to ban on sustainable transportation alternatives.”
Bird was one of three companies that participated in the City of Portland’s e-scooter pilot program. Despite what appeared to be a successful experiment, Portland decided to take all scooters off the streets about one month ago.
Now Bird and The Street Trust want to get scooters back in the news. Here’s the text of an invite Bird is sending around:
Join us on Wednesday, December 12 at noon at City Hall for a press conference in support of bringing scooters back to Portland! We’ll have speakers from Bird, The Street Trust, and more.
Portland’s e-scooter pilot program was a huge success in giving Portlanders new convenient, sustainable alternatives to car travel and the city’s leaders have shown tremendous foresight as they plan to incorporate these new modes of transportation into the city’s streets.
Let’s show them how much we appreciate their work making Portland a leader in sustainability and that we hope we can get scooters back on the road as soon as possible so we can continue to have more convenient, environmentally-friendly, and affordable transportation options!
Word has it that representatives from Lime will also speak at the event.
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. [Read more…]