Tighter Restrictions Coming in San Diego for E-Bikes and Scooters

San Diego City Council unanimously approves rules to make sidewalks safer

NBC Universal, Inc.

How you ride an electric scooter or e-bike could change this summer. The San Diego City Council approved changes that tighten existing rules governing the shared vehicles.

The city tentatively approved rules that would require scooter and bike companies to manage complaints and self-enforce violators of the new rules. The electric scooters and bikes would also be forbidden from riding on or being parked on sidewalks. They would have to be left inside painted corrals on city streets. Riders would have to use roadways or designated bike lanes.

“Finally in 2022, we’re getting some regulations that are appropriate, which is where we should have been in 2018,” said a smiling Jonathan Freeman of Safe Walkways.

“We’re not anti-scooter,” Freeman added. "We’re pro-pedestrian safety."

The city of San Diego wasn’t certain when the new ordinance would take effect. It’s expected to happen some time after July 31, when the city’s current contracts with seven companies expire. The city will reduce the number of contracted companies down to four, limiting the number of available electric bikes and scooters at 8,000, down from 11,000.

The new rules will also ban scooter and bike rentals between 12-2:30 a.m.

Freeman said the steps were in the right direction, but he questioned who would enforce the new rules.

“The city is taking a very, very hands-off approach,” Freeman said with a shrug. “The fact that there’s a regulation, though, doesn’t mean it’s going to be enforced.”

Under the new rules, the companies would need to respond to a complaint within one hour. They have three hours under current rules.

In a statement to NBC 7, the City of San Diego said, "The new amendments and contract terms require the scooter companies to have technology and other policies to enforce the new rules. The City will proactively monitor compliance via its data management platform, public complaints, and resolution of response to Get it Done reports.  The City will also continue to have a service provider (Sweep) that conducts proactive patrol activities and fleet management to address staging/parking violations.  If companies do not follow regulations, the City will implement progressive options of device impounds, fines, and may revoke a contract if necessary. To further support good rider behavior, the Proposed Fiscal Year 2023 Budget also includes $150,000 of funding for San Diego Police Department to conduct targeted enforcement and educational activities in areas/events where a need is identified.  All of these actions, which are fully funded by the fees collected from scooter companies, will hold companies accountable for their operations in the City of San Diego."

Contact Us