E-scooters are a somewhat controversial new mobility service. Like bike-shares available in some cities, the service provides an electric-powered scooter to rent for one-way trips. The scooters are consigned through a scooter rental app. Some companies offer a call or text unlocking service for those who don’t have smartphones. According to the model, scooters are parked on the sidewalk close to the curb and out of the way of pedestrians when the trip is finished. Some companies requre riders to confirm they’ve parked the e-scooter correctly by submitting a photo through the company’s app to end the rental.
While e-scooters have been cast as a serious menace by detractors – the e-scooters are sometimes driven on and left lying on sidewalks, littering and blocking pedestrian routes – Portlanders approved the one-year pilot program after a 120-day trial period. Proponents who argued for approval for the program cited reduced traffic congestion by reducing the number of cars on the road, fewer automobile fatalities, expanded transportation opportunities especially for underserved Portlanders, and reduced air pollution.
Portland transportation officials warn residents are expected to adhere to e-scooter rules, including mandatory helmet use, no riding on sidewalks, and no riders under 16 years of age. E-scooter riders are also required to yield to pedestrians, and ride only on roadways in parks. E-scooter drivers are allowed on Portland city streets, multi-use paths and in bike lanes. The programs extends til April 26, 2020.