The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) teamed 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. The release is timed to honor the United Nations’ International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
PBOT released the video in Portland, and Lime will roll 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.
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 concern for people who are blind or experience low vision. In response, PBOT was directed to invest in user enforcement and education during the 2019-20 pilot. A partnership with Disability Rights Oregon, Rooted in Rights, and Lime emerged out of several conversations of how to raise awareness amongst 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 five 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. The investments will also improve safety for people walking, biking or using mobility devices.
Originally posted on Metro Magazine