Streetfilms Inspires Bike Share in Portland

A few weeks ago, Portland, Oregon's City Council voted 4-1 to fund the development of a public bike share system in the Rose City.  Right before the vote, Dan Bower made a presentation about the proposed project to the City Council, during which he screened our recent video, Nice Ride MN: Minnesota's Bike Share Expands.  We caught up with Dan, who was kind enough to answer some questions about why he chose to show a Streetfilm.


Streetfilms: Why did you choose to show the City Council the film before the vote?

Dan Bower: There are two types of people in the world; people that have seen bike share in action, and people that have not.  If you haven't experienced bike share, it can be very difficult to imagine what we're proposing, especially with the failed "yellow bikes" program in the 1990s.  In talking with our City Council members prior to the vote, it was clear that those who had experienced bike share were totally on board, but those that hadn't were confused about why a system would cost millions of dollars and what the benefits would be.  Given the choice of having to explain bike share to five Council members and a packed audience or showing your film, the decision was easy.  We chose the MN Nice Ride video because it did the best job of explaining what bike share is, how it works, and how it can benefit a community.  Having the Mayor of Minneapolis in the video certainly helped as well.

SF: Do you think that the film helped sway council members to vote yes?

DB: I think it helped the Council members feel more comfortable with their vote.  Several were very hesitant to support the concept going in to council, but the tone changed significantly by the time the vote occurred.  I was able to clearly present the benefits of bike share without having to explain the small details of the system.  The video also set a very positive tone for the presentation and subsequent testimony.

SF:  I read that the city waited to bring bike share to Portland so they could learn lessons from other cities.  Did you find Streetfilms videos on bike shares from around the world useful in exploring other systems?

DB: Absolutely; being able to see systems in action is the best way to spread the bike share gospel.  Short of sending staff and politicians around the country to tour systems, Streetfilms is the best way to educate our decision makers.  We've benefited from seeing the technology evolve and being able to see how different cities have approached the role out of the systems.

Congratulations to Portland!  Do you have a story about how Streetfilms inspired change in your city?  Share it with us today:


Streetfilms has produced videos on bike share systems from all over the world.