Readers Respond to the Case We Made For Replacing Cars With E-Bikes on Portland Streets

“What about all of our children?"

Last week, we made the case for replacing cars on Portland's streets with e-bikes and suggested ways the city might make e-biking easier and more accessible ("6 Ways to Kill the Car," WW, Oct. 16, 2019). Because riders can take e-bikes farther than a conventional bicycle, without discomfort, the vehicle is a democratizing force. Here's what readers had to say.

Sara Robinson, via Facebook: "What about all of our children? I'm supposed to pick up the kids from school and day care on a scooter or bike? When it's literally freezing, snowing or just pouring?"

Ryan LaBarre, in response: "It's actually quite comfortable and pleasant to continue commuting with children via bicycle all year-round. Buying really nice comfy merino wool gear only costs the same as the equivalent of a couple of tanks of gas, and will last for years instead of weeks."

Marisa Morby, via Twitter: "I would love to have an e-bike share in Portland so that we can get more people trying these. Other cities do this with multiple companies offering rental services. Why not us?"

Jeremy Collier, via Facebook: "Hate this idea. Flooding the streets with e-bikes will increase the number of accidents. Climate change is a problem and should be addressed. But it shouldn't start with the general public. It needs to start with the big factories and corporations that are doing the majority of the polluting in the first place."

Zoran Arapovic, via Facebook: "Nothing the city has done in the last decade to offset how much people are driving has worked, why in the hell would we trust them now to figure it out, after millions of dollars have been invested into infrastructure changes that have resulted in jack shit?"

Liz Hardee, via Twitter: "Protected bike lanes are key. I've had so many people tell me they'd bike more but they are afraid that traffic makes it unsafe."

David Elderton, via Facebook: "Should we be greener as individuals? Sure. But if you're worried about climate change, you need to get corporate entities to change their ways."

Nuttin much, via Twitter: "E-bikes and scooters don't address: inclement weather, more than one traveler in a group trip, children, the aged, or the disabled, commutes longer than 30 minutes. We're not all single, urban 20-somethings."

Left Urbanist, in response: "Get rain gear. Group trips are easy when everyone has their own bike. Many of these populations can use bikes but can't drive. Wheelchair users can use the bike lanes. E-bikes make even longer trips easier."

Pdan, via "Going car-free and having roommates (when I could have afforded to keep my place to myself) for years after law school earned me the down payment on an investment property. The cost of owning and maintaining a car is insane once you look at it from an optional perspective instead of something you believe is necessary."


A story about police overtime ("Night Mode," WW, Oct. 16, 2019) incorrectly referred to "transcripts" of interviews conducted by the City Auditor's Office. In fact, the documents were interview notes, not transcripts. WW regrets the error.