By David Krogh

Note: The Southeast Examiner discussed the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s (PBOT’s) implementation of a new one-year pilot project starting next April for e-scooters in our June issue (The Scooters are Back).

In July, PBOT announced up to 15,000 scooters could be available within the City by the end of 2019. At the time, PBOT had also approved two companies, Razor out of California and Shared from Tacoma, to provide 725-seated rentable scooters here.

Then in mid August, PBOT announced that 655 additional scooters are approved to hit the streets as soon as available.

Bird, one of three companies already operating in Portland has been authorized to bring 525 more scooters to town. Portland separately gave two companies (Bolt and Spin) approval to expand their number of scooters as well.

At the same time as the scooter announcement, PBOT released ten weeks of performance data. Selected statistics from the performance data include the following:

• 46 estimated trips to emergency rooms involving scooter accidents

• 307,457 scooter miles logged during the period from 253,690 trips. Most trips were one mile or less in distance.)

• 16 e-scooter collisions with vehicles or pedestrians

• 903 complaints reported by companies in charge of tabulating complaints as required by their permits, primarily for parking issues or “poor riding behavior”

• 371 similar complaints received by the City from the public

• 116 tickets issued for illegal riding on sidewalks

• 191 tickets issued for illegal parking

Scooter companies are also charged for right-of-way use in addition to their permit fees.

Of interest to riders, because of excessive parking of scooters in parks during the initial trial, companies are now required to set up specific parking locations at parks.

Failure to park in those locations causes the scooter’s “meter” to continue running, accumulating additional costs to the rider.

The City continues to receive, audit and report data about the scooter program over time. PBOT has indicated that complaints will be monitored and tracked to ensure adequate follow up.

PBOT hopes that having a variety and large number of scooter types will encourage a wider variety of people to ride a scooter instead of a car and help alleviate traffic congestion.

Enforcement will be higher this time than during the initial trial.  In case of dangerous scooter operations or accidents, the public should call 911.

Chloe Eudaly is the City Commissioner in charge of PBOT and the program. Email her at:  chloe@portlandoregon.gov.

Submit email questions about the program to the City at: e-scooter@portlandoregon.gov. Complaints are to be directed not at the City but to the individual scooter companies. Complaint access to the three companies currently approved to operate is at this link:  bit.ly/2Zh6bY3