San Diego

Dockless Scooter Riders Could See 8 MPH Speed Limit Under Proposed Regulations

Among the new rules, he is proposing to limit scooter speeds to 8 mph in crowded areas, such as the beach boardwalk, Downtown Embarcadero and the Convention Center

City officials who back a proposed plan to slow down motorized scooters in certain parts of San Diego demonstrated on Monday the difference a few miles can make when it comes to the safety of its riders.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer and council members Chris Cate and Lorie Zapf tested a plan to use geofencing to limit the speed of motorized scooters, like Bird, LimeBike and Razor, which have increased in popularity and raised safety concerns. 

"We did a demonstration of the boardwalk and showed with my staff the difference between riding at 8 miles and riding at 15 mph," Zapf said. "And just visually you can see that it is a tremendous, tremendous difference and my motive is to keep everyone safe."

The demonstration was held in Liberty Station, one of the seven areas selected as a "slowdown zone" for dockless scooters. Other areas include the beach boardwalk, Downtown Embarcadero and the Convention Center.

One scooter company, Razor, says they support the proposed dockless scooter regulations. 

"We support regulations that will continue to encourage San Diegans to leave their car at home while enhancing rider and pedestrian safety," said Brandon Cheung, Government Affairs Manager for Razor, in a written statement.

Zapf is urging her fellow council members to consider recommending Faulconer's regulations to the full council at a Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods committee meeting on Wednesday. 

She said the influx of dockless scooters is causing "accident after accident."

Within the last week, a 65-year-old woman fractured her leg after losing control of a Bird scooter and two men riding motorized scooters crashed into each other, causing one to fracture his arm. Both accidents happened in downtown San Diego and it was not clear if speed were factors in the crashes. 

Bird has come up with their own safety measures using geofencing, including creating virtual "no ride" and "no parking" zones. Their app would also alert users to other safety information, according to the company.

Other regulations proposed by Mayor Faulconer last week include more safety education for riders, data sharing and proper liability insurance.

Scooter share operators will be required to educate users of local city, state vehicle and traffic codes. They will also be required to provide the city with monthly reports of where the scooters are, how often they are being used and the number of scooters in the city.

The report will be used by the city for its Climate Action Plan monitoring and mobility planning.

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