Skip to Content

City of Bend adding incentives — and penalties — to address issues with Bird e-bikes being left around town

Riders love them -- but others unhappy with where they're being left

(Update: Adding video, comments from City of Bend, Bend residents)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- One month in, Bend's new Bird electric bike rental program has seen success, but not without some complaints about them being left scattered around town.

Tobias Marx, parking services manager with the city of Bend, said the bikes are sometimes left on sidewalks, or in front of parks or houses.

“I think the major concern is that bikes are left in areas where people are not used to it,” Marx said Tuesday. 

Chad Dyess, a retired veteran who’s lived in Bend his whole life, said he does not enjoy seeing the bikes left out.

“People in Bend pay a lot of money for their houses. Last thing we want is a random bike in our front yard,” Dyess said. 

Marx said the city started with 16 official parking areas and is actively adding more.

“It’s much easier to find a preferred parking area or a "nest," or a Bird's nest, if you know where they are, and if there are many of them,” Marx said. 

They’re also adding a new system to incentivize leaving your bike in the right area, and after a warning, punishing you if you don’t.

With this system, if at the end of a ride you leave it at the side of the road or sidewalk, you’d pay full price, and possibly even an extra fee. 

However, if you find the closest parking area and leave the bike there, you pay the normal price -- and could get a discount or a coupon.

Chess still isn’t sold. 

“Don’t get me wrong, I think it's a great idea. I do believe we need to move more into clean energy,” Dyess said. “But I think at this time in Bend, it’s not what we need.”

However, Marx said most of the feedback so far has been positive.

Taylor Gederos, a real estate agent for Re/Max in Bend, said she’s glad they’re here. 

“So we’ve been seeing these bikes around all the time, and we were like, ‘Hey, let's just try out the bikes and ride them around’ -- and we had so much fun!” Gederos said. 

Marx said there were almost 1,300 riders in the first week of June, with the numbers going up every day.

Gederos loved the experience. 

“It made me feel like a kid again,” he said. “We literally were only going to go for 10 minutes, and we ended up going for 40 minutes because it was super easy, felt comfortable and very fun.”

In terms of rider safety, Marx said more people using these bikes actually opens up the bigger conversation.

“It shows us that we have some need to address bike safety in the city, across the board,” Marx said. 

For now, he hopes to make this system, a pilot program, work as best as possible.

“I think that’s the idea of learning while we are moving forward with it to fine-tune and make it better,” Marx said. 

​Marx said if you see a bike in a spot it shouldn’t be, you can report it on the city of Bend website, or on the Bird app itself.

That helps notify Bird's bike collection staff as quickly as possible.

Author Profile Photo

Noah Chast

Noah Chast is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Noah here.

Comments

71 Comments

    1. No, instead they will have to worry about criminal and civil penalties. When private enterprise is allowed to operate, they solve for the issues and expand. As of today, Portland has expanded to include multiple operators and close to 2000 riders per day.

    1. Evidently. The city of Portland as of today is operating with at least 4 different scooter/bike programs, including Bird, Lime, Bolt to name a few. The pilot from 2018, when the reports of “littering” proliferated have all been resolved and the program has expanded with over 1800 riders a day. This seems like a Bot Barney!

  1. These bikes are not much more than litter. I’m sure they’ve been subsidized claiming they are “green” being pushed by Green New -Dealers. These bikes are being littered everywhere. They make sense in busy cities where tourism is hot and you need to travel many miles to get to fun places and your hotel. Bend’s primary tourism radius is about 1 mile from Old Mill to downtown hardly in need of assistance to get from point A to B.

        1. There are cars parked on the streets and blocking sidewalks all over town. Especially in the parts where the bikes are most popular

  2. Spokane has these as well and they are left all over the place bushes, alleyways, middle of streets, etc. They have hired employees to drive around and pick them up and put them back. Doesn’t seem cost-effective to me.

      1. Great idea if they have the ability to work out problems such as liability issues and having the bikes abandoned everywhere that other cities are trying to solve or deal with.

  3. I saw a bunch of these next to the bus stop.
    Thats the perfect place for parking (nesting?) them.
    I’ll wager some of those St Charles employees, nurses, & Drs.ride them to work or out to the food pod.

    Now that I know what they are for and that people can rent them! That’s awesome! I plan on taking on pilot butte’s slope while maintaining enough stamina for for the yoga mat and a good morning sun salutation. 🧘‍♂️

    I’m so grateful for the complaining old people (for once)
    Who allowed this coolness to be brought to my attention.
    Now rent out a Tesla for cruising the nitelife.

    1. Usually 🙈 one or two abandoned on third street every night. How long before we see an inebriated person being followed by 6 cop cars?

  4. Most knowledgeable cyclists will not ride in Downtown Bend. Anywhere between say Empire and Reed Market and NW15th to NE27th is suicide on a bicycle. I have been hit twice on Greenwood. So, designing a rental system for mostly clueless riders in a very dangerous area, is just plain dumb.

      1. He actually mentioned the best area in town for riding. Funny perspective too, from inside a typical car drivers blood flow lacking mind, if he kills a cyclist he thinks that the cyclist committed suicide, not that he has committed the homicide that it is.

        1. Smedley, do you really propose it’s your business or the city’s business whether one wears a bike helmet? Let those who ride decide. Should we legislate brushing one’s teeth and their amount of screen time as well?

          1. Unfortunately, we seem to have a lot of people lately without the good sense to wear a helmet ending up in the ER with head injuries. I believe it’s the law to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle, why not a motorized bicycle?

            1. “good sense”? do you wear a helmet walking? ,Yes it’s the law to wear a helmet on a motorcycle and only under a certain age on a bicycle, I personally think helmets on a motorcycle should be an option not a mandate as with an adult on a bicycle ,I have worn a helmet on a motorcycle since the law came to being in the 80’s UNDER PROTEST but I wore one before the law by my own choice -big difference ,the overwhelming majority of the USA is and has been fine without mandatory helmet laws but our little “mother” state thinks for “best for me” ,thanks to Kitzhaber and the Oregon voters who don’t ride.

    1. Hilarious and so true. Just wait until some idiot is drunk, falls off the bike, hurts himself, and sues the city for millions of dollars. The liberal progressive way…..

  5. We had 3 left behind blocking our sidewalk. We waited a couple of hours no one picked them up so we just put them in the street and tipped them over. The next morning they were gone, easy peasy.

    1. How many of us out there are waiting for the moment one of the residentially challenged steals one or you see one having an heated argument with one outside the sthl whiskey bar downtown 🤠

    2. Not that it’s ok to block a sidewalk with a bicycle, but you should see the particulate from cars around here blocking your air filters and lungs.

    3. There’s only a couple employees to round the bikes up. There’s 200 bikes. Really not surprising it took a few hours for them to get to your location.

    4. If you see one sitting outside it’s nest, can you still ride it on the original renter’s credit card? If so, I’d ride that sucker all around town and out to Sunriver. If the credit card charge doesn’t end until the bike is returned this garbage of not respecting the rules and consideration of our downtown neighbors would end in a heartbeat.

  6. If one is disabled, these things lying in middle of a sidewalk or blocking access to a business are a violation of the ADA. Thus, recommend anyone seeing one lying in the middle of a crosswalk or sidewalk call the City of Bend ADA office and file a complaint. This will serve notice faster than calling the company’s.

  7. Hasn’t even been “months” yet and already the issues start, didnt see this coming ha ha ,what a waste of “someone’s” money.

  8. Hey everybody, let’s rant about a few tiny problems while continuing to ignore our huge and growing car problem! It’ll be the perfect distraction.

      1. People are a bigger problem when they’re stuck in a car. Ask any police officer. For example, a drunk or a drunk driving a car. Which would you prefer going down your street?

    1. So, how much do you want for your 1969 Datsun pickup? You are selling all your motorized and engine-driven rigs, right? Or are you just blowing more smoke?

  9. Nobody at the City cares because they don’t need them, or cars….they are working from home.Time to divert that money for a new city hall to fill all the massive pot holes around town and they can pay someone to drive around and pick up all the bikes.

  10. How about you scan a QR code at a “nest” to release the bike, then you scan a QR code at the same or different “nest” to return the bike. The only way to turn off the recording device is to scan a QR code at a nest. There are enough lots around town one should be close enough to your destination that you can park the bike and walk from that point.

    1. Great idea. If someone got a huge credit card bill because they didn’t return the bike, that lack of respect would stop in a heartbeat. If you rent skis at the mountain and leave them at the bar without returning them, you just bought yourself a pair of skis

  11. If you look at densley overpopulated cities around the world you see people trying to find the easiest way to get around. Often that means a motorbike, bicycle (electric or otherwise), or possible a rickshaw. The weave through gridlock more easily. Climate change aside, people are like water and they take the path of least resistance whenever possible. Bend is becoming more gridlocked every year. Sometimes it is by design as the city council decides to eliminate parking and lanes of traffic to increase snarl. That might be something you can actually fight if you want to but I wouldn’t hold out much hope there. These bikes are but the beginning of a trend that we see all over Europe and Asia. Complain all you want, they are probably here to stay and maybe, possibly they turn out to be a good thing. We will see in time.

  12. Doubtless this will negatively impact the small local businesses around town that already rent e bikes and provide customers with safety equipment and information on how to operate these correctly.

  13. Many people are thankful I make the sometimes difficult, sometimes very easy calls. Soon, you can complain about fellow commenters, a whole host of moderators and AI. Hopefully it will result in a more civil conversation and fewer trolls.

  14. So the argument for these is that it means less cars on the road but someone has to drive around all day in a car and pick them up?!?! Uhhhhhhhhh, yah that makes total sense.

  15. If any of these people who decided this was a good idea did literal ANY research they would have seen this never works. I saw this in Dallas on a trip 4 years ago and it was an abject disaster. You need to understand that most of your brilliant ideas have been tried. Learn from others.. that is progress.

  16. There were two of these bikes parked on the street near my house for a couple days.

    At the same time, there were scores of cars parked on the street near my house for rather more than a couple of days.

    I was proportionately upset about the bikes, which is too say, not upset at all.

  17. I have never rented a bike. But I did rent a couple of beers last night and did not leave them on the sidewalk when I was done with them.

Leave a Reply

Skip to content