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PBOT recommends permanent use of the Portland electric scooter system

pxidw 2020-09-26 240 times

Electric scooters will continue to exist if Portland's Department of Transportation allows it.

PBOT hopes to reduce the number of city-wide electric scooter companies to one to three from the current five operators and sign contracts for two to three years, based on a series of proposals released to the public in September.

The bureau will submit its findings to the entire city council for approval in November.The current test drive of the two-wheeler -- the second such pilot program since the scooters first arrived in July 2018 -- is due to expire at the end of the year.

"The global pandemic and the disruption it has caused to the economic system has had a major impact on the way we travel," PBOT said in its 56-page report."At the same time, the recent unrest across the country over the deaths of black Americans killed by police shows that the right to public passage for black and brown Americans is not safe."

The report acknowledges that "helmet use overall remains low" but asserts that sidewalk cycling is declining.PBOT has also used stickers and Biketown space to create dedicated electric scooter parking Spaces, but many are worn and "most riders don't know it," the report says.

PBOT recommends permanent use of the Portland electric scooter system

"Based on our research, PBOT believes that sidewalk cycling is an indicator that ev scooter users will not feel safe riding in the street," the report says.

In 2019, PBOT released the citation, costing the electric scooter company about $20,000.But only the Portland Police department has the power to stop traffic.It also requires operators to implement geo-fencing technology that automatically slows the speed of electric scooters to 12 MPH when driving through the Waterfront Park, the East Coast Esplanade and the Spring Corridor.PBOT says the scooter is programmed to come to a slow stop in a forest park and near an amusement park.

About 68 percent of electric scooter trips start downtown or in the Middle East, while only 6 percent take place east of Interstate 205, although the agency says 15 percent of the electric scooters that companies must deploy in East Portland each day result in large Numbers of rides.

Most scooters travel about a mile and last less than 15 minutes.Even so, riders have logged 415,000 miles in 1.7 million trips.Injuries associated with electric scooters were fixed at a rate of 2.3 per 10,000 miles, with no deaths reported.

"Like all parts of the transportation system, there are risks associated with using electric scooters," the report's appendix says.

The bureau says electric scooters have yet to offer a true last-mile solution to bridge the gap between other forms of transit and the homes of most Portlanders, but PBOT concludes that they can help the city meet its transportation goals.If the system is made permanent, management costs will also be reduced, PBOT said.

"With fewer companies, we can expand and deepen our partnerships with them," said PBOT director Chris Warner."It's also important for city workers to focus on innovation and expanding the fairness of the system."