Although it may seem like dockless bicycles and scooters have taken over San Diego County, the North County is still largely free of them. But a new pilot program may pave the way for both.
Starting this summer, cities from Oceanside to Del Mar will begin a year-long pilot program to bring a bike-share system to the coastal communities, but the program will not allow for motorized scooters just yet.
The partner cities -- Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad and Oceanside, along with the North County Transit District, Camp Pendleton and the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) -- have been working on the program for more than a year.
The program would establish guidelines that would allow for the first electric bike company to operate within their communities, like creating certain designated areas where the bicycles could be stationed.
Some partner cities have also discussed fines for users who don't comply.
The program would also only allow for one vendor, though the cities did not specify which ones were being considered to launch the program.
Leslee Gaul, the president for the city of Oceanside's tourism authority, said in a statement that it is important to them to support active transportation but want to ensure they "move forward slowly and thoughtfully."
But residents are wary that the regulations will help stop a bombardment of rideshare bicycles and electric scooters.
"If we look at what’s happening in San Diego, with unlimited amount of the bikes and scooters that have come in, I just see it as being problematic. I just don’t think it fits right here on the edge of the beach area," surf photographer Mitch Murphy said.
Although scooters will not be allowed during the pilot program, this could eventually pave the way for them as well.
And the dockless scooters are what worry Oceanside residents Robert and Judith Ann Smith.
"The scooters we see, it’s like, pay a dollar and you can ride me. But the thing is, we see people without helmets and they really don’t know what they’re doing. So scooters aren’t our favorite thing to see on the path," Judith Ann Smith said.
The city of San Diego has been struggling with how to regulate an influx of motorized scooter and bike companies that has prompted complaints from residents.
On Tuesday, the city council is expected to vote on increased regulations that are meant to cut down on accidents and nuisances. Some of the proposed regulation includes speed limits and banned zones.
Several of the North County cities have already passed ordinances to establish the bike-share system and select cities will have the program up and running this summer, though Oceanside said their program will not launch before the fall.