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The Portland Bureau of Transportation is developing a pilot project to increase access, especially to Portlanders with disabilities, to bicycling. The Adaptive Bicycle Workgroup is advising PBOT on the pilot's development. The project is planned to launch in June 2017.
PBOT has received two requests for physical accommodation with its BIKETOWN bike share system. PBOT staff have interviewed bike share systems in other cities, City program staff, companies and organizations serving people with disabilities, and most importantly Portlanders with disabilities.
In summer 2016, PBOT attended the Adaptive Bicycle Clinic, Wheel Connect (an event sponsored by Oregon Spinal Cord Injury Connection), and Incight's Summer HandCycling Series. Staff interviewed a number of people with disabilities about an adaptive bicycling rental service.
The pilot concept is based on interviews with Portlanders using mobility devices that expressed an interest in an adaptive bicycling rental service. Individuals with disabilities interviewed almost universally expressed a desire and/or need for a staffed service. Individuals explained their need for personal wheelchair storage and assistance with fitting, the need or desire for staff assistance to move between their mobility device and the adaptive bicycle. Because of safety concerns of riding in auto traffic, and a primary interest in exercise and recreation, people wanted to use adaptive bicycles to ride on trails or paths without motor vehicles.
At this time, the intent is to focus on adaptive cycle rentals through existing bike rental businesses located on or in close proximity to non-motorized trails. PBOT is considering providing both hand bicycles and three wheeled bicycles. Longer term adaptive bicycle rental is currently available through Adaptive Sports Northwest.
Project development and planning will continue through spring 2017. PBOT currently has a pilot concept and wants future customers, City partners such as Portland Parks and Recreation, service providers and interested parties to play an active role in developing the program. In winter 2017, PBOT will be conducting a public outreach process to further refine the pilot. PBOT has made initial inquiries to a number of bike rental shops, but further discussions need to take place.
To date, PBOT’s outreach has focused on people with disabilities that are using wheelchairs or mobility devices. Staff recognize the need to broaden this to include people that may have balance issues, such as seniors.
PBOT Staff Contact: Steve Hoyt-McBeth, firstname.lastname@example.org, (503) 823-7191.
Photo of person riding adaptive bicycle courtesy of Jonathan Maus, bikeportland.org
City of Portland and community programs to support people with disabilities interested in adaptive bicycling
Answers to common questions about the pilot project
April 2017 profile by the LA Times on Portland's Adaptive Bike PIlot Project
A March 2017 story in The Atlantic's Citylab about Portland's Adaptive Bicycle Rental Pilot
Members of the public, nonprofit and government staff that are advising PBOT on the design of the meeting
April 25, 2017: Learn about Portland’s 2017 adaptive bike rental pilot and provide PBOT feedback on project design