San Diego

Councilmember Calls for Emergency Ordinance to Stop on Motorized Scooters on Mission Beach Boardwalk

San Diego City Councilwoman Lorie Zapf is seeking an emergency ordinance that will ban motorized scooters from beach boardwalks and nearby walkways.

Since February, when they first were introduced, motorized scooters operated by Bird and LimeBike have grown in popularity.

But so too have the number of complaints.

According to a statement by Zapf, residents have complained about the continued reckless use of motorized scooters along the Mission Beach Boardwalk. This type of behavior has resulted in collisions, accidents and bodily injuries

Zapf sent a memo on April 20th asking for assistance from Mayor Kevin Faulconer regarding motorized scooters prior to the start of summer. Zapf’s office says the mayor’s staff is working on bringing an emergency ordinance before the city council on May 22.

Currently, state law prohibits the use of motorized scooters on sidewalks. However, the law doesn’t apply to boardwalks. The ordinance seeks to amend the existing San Diego municipal code.

Spokespersons for both companies told NBC 7 they have been working with the city to ensure the scooters are safe for riders and other San Diegans. 

LimeBike told NBC 7 they have a safe rider education program online and offline to promote safety and Bird says they are working to create a safety campaign as well.

"To begin addressing the concerns raised by city officials, Bird is in the process of hiring Safety Ambassadors to educate the community about proper riding and parking habits," said Rachel Harvey Katz, a spokesperson for Bird.

Both companies say they are looking forward to working with the city to address safety concerns. 

Zapf is planning a Friday news conference to discuss the issue.

Meanwhile, beachgoers say they support an effort to regulate motorized scooters on the boardwalk.

"The boardwalk seems like a place we should get rid of any motorized vehicle," said Renee Griffith who works in Pacific beach and often walks on the boardwalk.

Katz says the San Diegans have been supportive of Bird scooters.

"Since Bird launched here in January, the people San Diego have truly embraced us as a convenient, environmentally friendly way to get around," Katz said. 

Jennifer Allen is the manager of Ocean’s Ice Cream shop. She says the scooters are often dumped outside of her business, and riders are often reckless.

“They just come flying around, hit children, hit families, just causing havoc, basically,” said Allen.

But Will Hoyt, who is from Chicago, says the scooters are a great mode of transportation for people visiting the city.

“Me and my friend just used these today as something to explore the city. So I think there are positives and negatives, but overall, I think it’s positive from an outsider’s view,” said Hoyt.

Zapf says the proposed emergency ordinance would ban motorized scooters from Crystal Pier south to the jetty. It would not apply to motorized scooters used by the disabled.

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