PORTLAND, Ore. – E-scooters are now an option for people looking for a way to get around Portland.
The first rentals were made available on Thursday, one day after they were permitted by the Portland Bureau of Transportation. There could be 200 scooters on Portland streets and sidewalks in the upcoming week.
The permits were issued to companies Skip and Bird. On Thursday, Bird gave out free helmets at a safety event at Pioneer Courthouse Square. Companies are required to educate riders about safe riding, PBOT said. Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who oversees PBOT, has said failure by companies to follow the rules will result in confiscation of scooters, and fines.
The introduction of e-scooters is part of PBOT’s shared scooter pilot program, which will last through Nov. 20. As part of the 120-day program, permitted companies will be able to offer scooters for rent. The total number of permitted scooters will be capped at 2,500 during the pilot program. Each permitted company will be “allowed a share of this total,” PBOT said a news release.
People can rent a scooter through an app on their smartphone and drop it off anywhere in the city when they are finished. Scooters are supposed to be parked on sidewalks, close to curbs, so they don't impact pedestrians.
Riders must wear a helmet and can travel in bike lanes, but not on sidewalks. Scooters can’t be used in city parks. The scooters will have a maximum speed of 15 mph, according to PBOT.
During the pilot program, PBOT will evaluate whether the scooters are safe and suitable for use in Portland.
Dockless e-scooters have been used in other major cities across the U.S., where they have been criticized, in part, because riders are just dropping them off in the middle of sidewalks.