A woman and her 11-year-old daughter visiting from Arizona were seriously injured while riding a motorized scooter on the Mission Beach boardwalk.
The accident happened last Friday at the foot of Santa Barbara Place and the boardwalk. The pair was riding double and without a helmet, both of which are illegal.
The accident happened just over a month after the San Diego City Council voted against an emergency ordinance that would have banned the motorized scooters on the boardwalk.
During the public comment session of Tuesday’s city council meeting, the 11-year old girl’s father criticized the council for voting against the ban.
“I am here today because I am highly concerned and upset with this council’s decision to not place an emergency ban on motorized scooters,” said Dan DeWitt.
DeWitt says his daughter suffered a ruptured spleen and internal bleeding, as well as a head injury. He says his ex-wife was knocked unconscious in the accident and faces a long recovery after suffering multiple skull fractures.
“The beach boardwalk is not the appropriate place for such high-speed, non-regulated, motorized scooters. I plead with you today to reconsider your decision and ban these motorized scooters from your community immediately,” said DeWitt, who lives in Arizona and says he’s been a firefighter for 17-years.
Council member Lorie Zapf had proposed the emergency ordinance after receiving numerous complaints and safety concerns about the motorized scooters.
“I am saddened to learn of this very serious life threatening scooter accident that happened on the boardwalk involving a child and mother on vacation,” said Zapf in a statement.
“My office worked with staff to develop an emergency ordinance to address this issue and unfortunately the City Council majority did not support it. We are now seeing first hand why common-sense rules should be approved, and I urge my council colleagues to revisit this issue on the very clear grounds of protecting public safety,” said Zapf.
Council member Scott Sherman, who voted against the ban said he was deeply saddened by the accident, but stood firm on his decision not to ban the motorized scooters.
“Pedestrian accidents and casualties that occur while walking, bicycling, or on a scooter happen far too often throughout every part of San Diego, not just the boardwalk. This is why I am committed to the continued implementation of the City’s Vision Zero plan. Before a ban takes place, all options must be researched and analyzed and I urge the motorized scooter companies to work with city officials to find a common sense solution to this serious problem,” said Sherman in a statement.
On May 22 when the council voted against the emergency ordinance to ban the motorized scooters on the boardwalk, it agreed to send the issue to a public safety committee for review. That has yet to happen.