San Diego

‘Not a Solution': Residents Concerned Mayor's Proposed Dockless Scooter Regulations Not Enough

Among the proposed regulations, scooter speeds would be limited to 8 mph in crowded areas

What to Know

  • Several dockless bike companies including Lime Bike, Ofo, Bird and Mobike started doing business in San Diego in early 2018.
  • Users download an app and find a bike using a GPS then ride it anywhere, dropping off at any location when they are done.
  • Regulations first proposed in the spring were rejected by city officials. Now, the mayor wants the city to limit dockless scooter speeds.

A council committee on Wednesday heard from San Diegans who are concerned a proposed speed limit reduction for the popular dockless scooters is not enough to keep citizens safe.

The San Diego City Council's Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods committee voted to advance proposed regulations that electric scooter companies, like Bird, Lime, and Razor, would need to adhere to in order to operate within San Diego.

The unanimous vote sent the regulations proposed by San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer back to his office to draft a full version, which will then be again voted on by the committee. The draft is expected to be ready by early next year. 

The regulations would implement geofencing to create 8-mph zones, create a consistent rider education program and allow the city to gather data from each company, among other rules. 

Liberty Station is 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. 

“I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have yelled at people to slow down. They almost hit me. They almost hit other people. It’s out of control. Right here, downtown on the sidewalks,” Zapf said. 

Each company would be required to apply for a permit and agree to the city's terms in order to continue operating in San Diego, according to the proposal. For some at Wednesday's Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods committee meeting, the regulations are not enough.

"Allowing scooters, even at eight miles per hour, is not a solution," one resident said. "Please don’t put pedestrians at risk by allowing hundreds of scooters to joyride on our trails, promenades and walkways." 

Zapf and Councilmember Barbara Bry shared concerns that user data was being sold to third parties. 

Tim Carter with Bird said the company was not selling user information to a third party. 

“I’d be shocked if it were happening on a national scale. I can confirm it’s not happening in San Diego,” a Lime representative told the committee. 

One scooter company, Razor, supports the proposed 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. 

There have been three scooter collisions causing injury reported in less than 24 hours. 

On Tuesday night, a scooter collided with a taxi on Harbor Drive and First Avenue downtown, the San Diego Police said. 

In Logan Heights, two people collided with the back of a trolley. The two people were riding tandem on an electric scooter on 21st and Commercial streets when they crashed.

In Golden Hill on Tuesday morning, a woman couldn't get her scooter to slow down so she jumped off at full speed and broke her leg, according to police. 

All of these incidents are under investigation. 

Scooter share operators will be required to educate users of local city, state vehicle and traffic codes. 

“People are out there thinking that, ‘Oh these are just suggestions’ and they get shocked when it’s a $250 fine,” Zapf said of the companies' current signage. 

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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