On Wednesday, new regulations for motorized scooters and e-bikes officially go into effect in the city of San Diego.
The rules, which were approved in May, include oversight on how scooters are staged, a ban on parking them anywhere but in city-approved corrals, a crackdown on sidewalk use and an effort to make scooter companies more accountable for irresponsible riders. The number of scooter companies allowed to operate will be reduced to four, while limiting the number of devices, down from more than 11,000 to 8,000.
If a recent video taken just east of the Mission Beach boardwalk is any indicator, though, the new regulations might not be much of a match for the behavior of some riders.
The video, which was recorded on July 17, shows two scooters going the wrong way on Strandway on the one-way side street. At the same time, a sedan is approaching the intersection. The scooter riders seem to have not seen the car and collided with the vehicle. No one appeared to be seriously injured.
“It was like screech, crash, scream and yell. I was surprised. I was a little shocked, but I almost laughed because it happens so often,” said Mission Beach resident Marty Zimmerman.
Zimmerman, who manages a building on the Mission Beach boardwalk, shared the video, which was recorded by a security camera overlooking the intersection of Strandway and Capistrano Place.
“I see or hear five or six collisions or near misses a day, every day," Zimmerman said. "It’s just a matter of time before somebody gets hurt."
The accident has some residents calling for enforcement of posted speed limits of 10 mph. Others say technology used to slow the scooters — called geofencing — must be expanded.
Beginning Aug. 1, Lime scooters will be one of the four companies chosen to operate through a new city request for proposal process.
When contacted about the collision, a representative for Lime said 99.99% of the company's rides are completed safely.
"Safety is the foundation of our shared e-scooter program in San Diego, and we are constantly working with the city and with the community to make improvements as needed,” said Justin Ireland, Operations Manager for Lime in a statement to NBC 7. "We communicate with our riders nonstop about where riding is and is not allowed, and how to obey the rules of the road. We will continue proactively educating our riders on how to stay safe and working with the city to keep micromobility in San Diego a safe, affordable, and sustainable way to get around."
Based on the Lime app, the Mission Beach boardwalk is completely geofenced as a no-ride zone (city regulations ban scooters on boardwalks and sidewalks). But Strandway, where the July 17 collision occurred, is not geofenced.
While the city continues efforts to regulate scooters and e-bikes, and local companies continue an education campaign for riders, it’s clear many residents are still not satisfied, pointing to riders who continue to ignore rules.
“Well, it reminds me when I worked for the military," Zimmerman said. "There’s an old saying: You can’t fix stupid. You can design around it, but you can’t fix it.”