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Poll: Should Eugene green light an e-scooter pilot program?

Eugene City Council members are trying to gauge the public’s interest to see if they should give an electric scooter pilot program the green light.

Posted: Jun 16, 2020 6:59 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Eugene City Council members are trying to gauge the public’s interest to see if they should give an electric scooter pilot program the green light.

Monday, the council held a public hearing. Next week, it will come to a vote.

Eugene transportation planning manager Rob Inerfeld sees an upside.

“They can be a great transportation option for people who are looking to go on trips of one to four miles,” Inerfeld said.

Portland is the only Oregon city with a shared-use e-scooter fleet. Eugene could become the second next week, but people have their concerns.

“I’m not super excited about extra traffic in the bike lanes," said the owner of Bicycle Way of Life Matt Ritzow. “I feel like a bicycle is a far more superior vehicle of moving around. I’m just not attracted to it. It’s kind of a toy.”

On Monday, June 22, two separate ordinances will be voted on. One would allow the license of e-scooter companies such as Bird and Lime. The other would allow those e-scooters on bike paths.

“We want to make sure people are following the rules and they are following safe practices,” said Inerfeld. “In terms of the rules, you are not allowed to use an electric scooter on a sidewalk.”

This is probably a good thing because e-scooters can certainly fly down the street, hitting speeds as high as 20 mph. But for some, that’s not a concern.

“I think people will have a general well-being of other people,” said Eugene resident Savannah Caballero. “There are e-bikes which can go pretty fast. We don’t have problems with those in town. So I think scooters should be fine too.”

A simple majority vote is needed to approve the program in Eugene. According to city council members, the pilot program will cost the city nothing.

“I’ve ridden some in Portland and really enjoyed it,” said Eugene resident Sara. “It was a great way to get around Portland. Instead of driving up there, I took the train up and got a scooter.”

Currently, there are 14 e-scooter companies across 122 cities in the U.S.

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