Portland Says Adaptive Bike-Share Pilot Was a Win

Spurred on by disability rights advocates who argued that Portland, Oregon’s bike-share system discriminated against people with mobility issues, the city experimented last summer with renting out tricycles, hand cycles and side-by-side tandem bikes. Though the program is more akin to a traditional bike-rental service than bike-share, it is nonetheless an effort to extend the benefits of bike-share beyond its typical able-bodied user base.

In late December, the Portland Bureau of Transportation released statistics summing up its experiment. The Adaptive Biketown pilot ran for 14 weeks, from late July to the end of October. The city had 10 adaptive trikes, hand cycles and tandems available to rent. It cost $5 for an hour and $12 for 3 hours—an effort to match the pricing structure of the traditional two-wheeled bike-share system, called Biketown. Adaptive Biketown had 59 rentals, more than half of which were from people riding an adaptive cycle for the first time. About 40 percent of users self-identified as people with disabilities. Caregivers also used the adaptive cycles. Despite the relatively low rider numbers, the city considers the pilot a success and is planning to relaunch it in May.

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