The city of San Diego has begun installing new signage along beach boardwalks advising beachgoers that motorized scooters and other devices are prohibited.
But at the same time, there has been a significant decrease in the number of scooter permits issued by the city.
The San Diego City Council recently approved a scooter ban on beach boardwalks that will go into effect Feb. 29.
There will be a 30-day grace period before they begin issuing citations, according to the San Diego Police Department.
“We’ll have a 30-day grace period, essential, where we come out and do education. We will be making enforcement stops. However, they will result in written warning as opposed to actual traffic citations,” SDPD traffic officer Anthony Obregon said.
After the grace period citations will cost violators $250, Obregon said.
Meanwhile, the city said there has been a more than 50% decrease in the number of scooter permits it’s issued since last July. Scooter companies must apply for permits every six months.
In July 2019, there were 22,300 mobility device permits issued, according to the city. As of January, there were 11,050.
Three companies, Lime, Jump, and Skip have left the San Diego Market. Those companies accounted for 7,650 devices. Bird Scooter currently has the largest number of scooters in San Diego, though the number has decreased from 9,000 to 6,000, according to the city.
NBC San Diego reached out to Bird but the company has yet to respond.
Pedestrian safety advocates are skeptical the numbers are the result of a business decision made by the companies.
“In the summer months, we’ve got lots of tourists, these things are placed in places that tourists use. In the winter months, there are fewer tourists. I think we’re finding that the companies don’t want to pay to have more vehicles available,” said Jonathan Freeman with the group Safe Walkways.
Freeman also said the signs being put up by the city won’t matter, unless the city actually enforces the ban.
“The issue isn’t the number of scooters, we could have three times more scooters. If all the people that used the scooters used them responsibly, and with consideration for the rest of the community,” said Freeman.