The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is teaming up with Disability Rights Oregon, Rooted in Rights, and Lime to release a new e-scooter safety video that raises awareness of the importance of sidewalk access for people with disabilities.
The video is believed to be the first time a city has partnered with a shared e-scooter company to create content intended specifically to address the effects of illegal e-scooter riding on people with disabilities. Today’s release is timed to honor the United Nations’ International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
PBOT releases the video in Portland Tuesday, and scooter company Lime rolls out a shorter version in their markets nationwide.
The central message of the new video: Scoot Smart, Portlanders!
• Ride in the street or bike lane
• Park correctly, near the curb, out of the path of travel and away from buildings and transit stops, and leaving enough space for people using mobility devices to get by
• Wear a helmet
The video focuses on Portlanders with disabilities who share how illegal e-scooter sidewalk riding and improper parking impact their ability to safely get around. The video was created in partnership with Disability Rights Oregon, Rooted in Rights, and Lime, and highlights how illegal e-scooter sidewalk riding and parking negatively impacts Portlanders with disabilities.
In 2018, PBOT hosted a focus group with people with disabilities to learn more about the impact of e-scooters. PBOT heard that sidewalk riding was a major concern for seniors and people with disabilities, and that illegal parking was of particular concern for people who are blind or experience low vision. In response, Commissioner Eudaly directed PBOT to invest in user enforcement and education during the 2019-20 pilot. A partnership with Disability Rights Oregon (DRO), Rooted in Rights, and Lime emerged out of several conversations of how to raise awareness amongst riders.
“We heard from Portlanders that riding on sidewalks and irresponsible parking were the most prevalent problems with the 2018 e-scooter pilot program,” said Transportation Commissioner Chloe Eudaly. "This video is the beginning of a larger educational campaign we directed PBOT to conduct to help riders better understand the rules of the road. E-scooters have great potential as a low emission transportation option, but it is vital for people to use them safely and respectfully.”
"To be a city where everyone is welcome, Oregonians with disabilities, older adults, and others should be able to safely navigate our city’s sidewalks without fear of getting hurt by e-scooters," said Jake Cornett, Executive Director of Disability Rights Oregon. "If you use a wheelchair or you're blind or low vision, an e-scooter strewn across the sidewalk can prevent you from easily getting where you need to go and is a serious safety hazard. The city's second e-scooter pilot is a chance for Portlanders to get e-scooters right. Whether it's curb ramps, safe crossing, or e-scooters, Disability Rights Oregon will continue working to make Portland a welcoming and accessible city for all."
"Getting more people out of cars is great, but scooters and other new mobility options shouldn't come at the expense of the mobility access of people with disabilities," said Rooted in Rights Program Director Anna Zivarts. "Many of us rely on sidewalks as a primary part of our transportation network, and we need to make sure access isn't jeopardized."
"Lime is committed to working collaboratively in the communities we serve to improve safety for both our riders and non-riders," said Jonathan Hopkins, Lime Director of Strategic Development for the Northwest United States. "That’s why we worked with disability rights leaders like DRO and Rooted in Rights, PBOT and other experts to produce this first-of-it’s-kind educational video. We are excited to highlight Portland and local Portlanders in what we believe will be a model for scooter education locally, but also globally for scooter riders."
Since April 26, PBOT has issued more than 700 penalties and 57 warnings to companies for improper user behavior. Companies are required to issue notifications, warnings, fines, and account suspensions to users who are not operating e-scooters legally. PBOT regulatory specialists are monitoring sidewalks, documenting instances of illegal scooter riding and parking and providing those to the companies. After receiving a warning, e-scooter riders may receive a fine of $50 for riding on sidewalks or $15 for illegal parking.
The 2019 Shared Electric Scooter Pilot Program started on April 26. It follows a 120-day pilot program in 2018 that showed a shortage of safe places to ride led many to ride e-scooters on sidewalks. To make more safe places to ride e-scooters, e-scooter riders are charged a 25 cent street use fee, and companies are charged a 5 to 20 cent right-of-way fee to generate funding to build safe places for people to use e-scooters, such as protected bike lanes and neighborhood greenways. PBOT learned in the first pilot that where e-scooter users had safe places to ride in the street, sidewalk riding decreased. These investments will also improve safety for people walking, biking or using mobility devices.
In PBOT's 2018 e-scooter pilot program, the bureau gathered and shared with the public more data on the use of shared e-scooters than any other city in the nation. The bureau posted regular updates on its Twitter account, @PBOTinfo. It published a comprehensive report on the use of e-scooters, with data about injuries within weeks of the pilot program's completion.
Source: Portland Bureau of Transportation