E-Scooters

E-Scooters may be coming to Eugene. (Courtesy of the City of Eugene)

The City of Eugene announced plans to implement an electric scooter pilot program Tuesday. It is predicted to launch in spring 2020. The plan says electric scooters are a form of “micro-mobility” that has been emerging across the United States since the company Bird launched the first fleet of shared scooters in September 2017.

Portland,is in the midst of its second pilot program with scooters. The Portland Bureau of Transportation website said the first pilot, which lasted 120 days, “showed e-scooters have the potential to help reduce congestion and pollution.” Concerns were raised, however, about users violating traffic laws and conflicts with sidewalk users. These concerns have been raised elsewhere.

In early 2019, a disability rights group sued the city of San Diego, California over unregulated rental scooters creating hazards on the city’s sidewalks and blocking access to public rights of way.

The City of Eugene is currently gathering community input on bringing scooters to the city. A scooter fleet would be a part of the city’s efforts to meet fossil fuel reduction goals and provide more transportation options to residents, according to the plan released by the city.

Like the city’s fleet of shared bikes, scooters could be a convenient and cheap option for short trips. Jake Myers, a University of Oregon student, said he would probably just walk everywhere instead of using them. “I don’t know off the top of my head how fast they go, maybe 10 miles per hour, but I doubt if they get that high,” Myers said.

Shane Rhodes, the city’s transportation options coordinator, said shared scooters are an interesting new industry that should be studied. “Is it helping reach our goals? We can speculate about that but we won’t know unless we implement it,” Rhodes said.

A survey on bringing electric scooters to Eugene is live on the city’s website.