Here’s What You Told Us About Portland’s E-Scooter Experiment

Portland’s e-scooter pilot program officially ends in November, and PBOT hasn’t decided yet whether the scooters will be gone for good or here to stay.

So we asked readers for their take on scooters and what should happen next. Here’s what they told us:

“I love the scooters! They are a fun, easy, cheap way to get around town, and I can’t help but smile like an idiot every time I’m on one.” Meaghan

“Do I want to close the ‘last mile,’ ‘reduce pollution and cars on the road,’ and ‘offer equitable transport for all’? Absolutely. These scooters are not the way. While the rest of us try not to get run over while we close OUR last miles, I’m curious about the manufacturing/replacement footprints of scooters, and needing a smartphone and credit card is not “equitable transport.” Our “pilot” came without enforcement of the rules (“no sidewalks, wear helmets, only one person per scooter”), so how realistic of a pilot is it? Without a full implementation, we don’t even know if we have the infrastructure to support it safely. Please ban them.”Anonymous

“The scooters should DEFINITELY go! Not only are they a hazard to pedestrians and drivers, they are a menace to the clueless riders themselves who refuse to wear helmets and don’t seem to be at all safety-conscious. There are plenty of other alternatives to getting from here to there; let’s get rid of the scooters before someone gets killed.” Judy

“As a bus rider, biker, pedestrian, and driver, I value the role of e-scooters in helping us get out of our cars in the city. It’s a welcome addition to the non-car transit options — and a fun one at that! I hope Portland keeps the scooters and invests in more shared-lane opportunities.” —Lizzie

“The scooter program may have worked, but a large number of scooters are found in the street, across sidewalks, broken down, and kids riding them with no helmets. Portland has too many already issues to clean up. I say ban the program for now. It is frustrating when a disabled person like myself cannot walk on the sidewalk because scooters litter them. I called the number on the scooter to report this… was told by the agent that they cannot be responsible for where they are found. Really!!!” —Anonymous

“The scooters need to GO. I have been hit by one while I was walking on the sidewalk. I’ve seen multiple near misses from scooter riders just wildly careening off the sidewalk into traffic, doing donuts in the middle of the street, and acting like wackasses in parking lots. Nobody ever has helmet on. It’s only a matter of time until there’s a fatal accident, if there hasn’t been already.” Terri 

“I am all for alternate methods of transportation but somehow we have to enforce the rules. I see them constantly on sidewalks and in parks and also witnessed a couple of very young boys ride down a staircase at Chapman School. Almost got run down by one at Waterfront Park. Very rarely do I see anyone wearing a helmet. Not sure how the scooter companies convey the rules to the riders, but I think they need to do better.” —Deborah

“I work downtown and I can’t tell you how many times I have had to either stop in my tracks or move out of the way so I don’t get hit from someone riding on the sidewalk. Someone who visits downtown once in a while might not find them a nuisance but my opinion… get rid of them!” —Cynthia

“The scooters are a menace. I know they are fun to ride, but I have seen so much terrible, dangerous behavior by the riders. Since they have been here, I have only seen one person wearing a helmet, and the other night I saw 6 people racing down the sidewalk in the dark. They are on the sidewalk, and between cars in the street.” —Stella

“E-scooters are a fun and practical alternative to driving. If you are anti-scooter, consider if 12 year-old you would approve of the person you’ve become.” —DJ

“Get rid of them. Far too dangerous. No one wears a helmet. No one enforces the rules. They say they replace car rides but I find that hard to believe. You can’t carry anything with you, certainly not groceries or packages. The people I see seem to be just out for a lark adding to traffic problems rather than reducing them.” —Ruth

“I’m definitely in the STAY camp! I live in a suburb outside of Portland but when I come downtown to work and generally bop around, I’ve found e-scooters a delightful and very hand way to get around. I’ve mainly seen them put in logical places along the sidewalks, so while I’m sure there’s the occasional head-scratcher of where a scooter got dumped…usually people seem to know what to do with them. Any complaints people might have with how people ride scooters through streets and so forth…that’s a problem to solve in terms of laws and etiquette, not a problem with the scooters rental companies themselves. One way or another, people WILL use scooters or some similar kind of personal electronic transportation — I see this as the way of the future.” —Jared

“Ban the e-scooters!” —Gretchen

“I really don’t think the solution to scooters (or anything) is “more cops”. Honestly, the pilot program was successful and I don’t understand why the city doesn’t kick commercial companies out and just make scooters part of TriMet. Also, in terms of “enforcing the rules”, some of them just aren’t practical. You’re not supposed to ride a bike on the sidewalk either, but I see it happen, usually along very busy roads where I don’t blame the cyclist for opting for a protected path. I feel like the scooters should get the same or similar rules and flexibility. And get rid of the (blatantly not followed) helmet requirement. The safest thing for non-drivers is to have as many non-drivers on the road as possible so drivers get used to them being there. Increase friction on car traffic if you want car traffic to go down, and make it as easy as possible to take other forms of transit.” —Courtney S.

“Scooters need to go NOW!” —Tamara B.

“Absolutely keep the scooters!  If a private company wants to provide a service that gives mobility options, all the better for the city. And it also provides income potential for those who want to be scooter chargers. Also, when they burst on the scene I thought they were great, but at the time I really didn’t imagine finding use for them. So I’ve been surprised how often I find them to be a good option to get from A to B.”—Kurt

“I agree the scooters should go. The people who ride them are unconscious and inconsiderate, ride on sidewalks and all over streets without helmets and sometimes without shoes. Please ban them!”—Mary

“Scooters should go away. Unsafe in traffic; unsafe on sidewalks. Glad I have not heard of any serious injuries yet. People should walk — it is good for us!” —Anonymous

“I hate those scooters. People ride w/o helmets and ride on the sidewalks. Sidewalks are no place for scooters.” —Anonymous

“Get rid of the scooters! They are a menace. Riders disobey all rules, wear no helmets, and leave scooters blocking sidewalks so those os us in chairs or on mobility scooters have to detour into the street or otherwise get past. Even in the park — where they are not allowed — they careen past walkers and dogs. I repeat: THEY ARE A MENACE.” —Anonymous

“E-scooters should STAY with the following caveats:

  • riders must have a helmet
  • riders must follow the same laws as bike riders with regards to crosswalks, atop signs, traffic lights
  • if riders do not follow these rules, they should be ticketed.

“I love that they provide an alternate source of flexible, low-cost transportation, but so many riders are just plain careless.  If you want to cause injury for yourself, ok. But if you want to cause trauma and drama for the driver who hit you because you were careless, not so much.” —Wendy

“My short answer is no, not in their present form. I have NEVER seen a scooter rider wearing a helmet, except in the promo photos. There seems to be ZERO enforcement of the rules about where/when to ride, and where/when not to ride. Yes, they create hazards for drivers and pedestrians. I nearly was hit by one speeding along the sidewalk as I stepped out of a shop.

But I am more concerned about the safety of the scooter riders. I predict (sadly) that someone will soon be killed or seriously injured riding a scooter, and people will suddenly start wringing their hands about the above-mentioned problems and wondering WHY STEPS WERE NOT TAKEN!? A lawsuit will be filed and somebody, possibly the City of Portland (meaning taxpayers), will have to pay a lot of money. Also, somebody will be dead or seriously injured.

It always strikes me as odd that while in my car, which I need a license and insurance to operate, in which I must wear a seatbelt and not even think about using my phone, I am able to look out and see a person in shorts and flip-flops – Helmet? Forget it! – zipping along the street in front of me AT NIGHT!

Scooters are an accident waiting to happen.” —Tom