Mayor proposes new regulations for scooters and bikes
Published - 02/15/19 - 02:06 PM | 32043 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Electric scooters near the boardwalk in Mission Beach. Using geofencing technology, operators will be required to slow their devices down to eight miles per hour on the boardwalks in Mission Beach, Pacific Beach and La Jolla beach areas. / Photo by Thomas Melville
Electric scooters near the boardwalk in Mission Beach. Using geofencing technology, operators will be required to slow their devices down to eight miles per hour on the boardwalks in Mission Beach, Pacific Beach and La Jolla beach areas. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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On Feb. 14, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer released a set of proposed regulations for dockless scooters and bicycles to address public safety concerns by slowing the devices down in heavily-trafficked public spaces, establish clear rules of the road to hold operators accountable, and charge an annual fee for each device.

The proposed ordinance will be discussed at the City Council’s Feb. 20 Active Transportation and Infrastructure Committee meeting.

Faulconer’s proposed regulations cover six primary areas – limiting maximum speed of motorized scooters in designated zones, vehicle staging and parking, rider education, data sharing, fees and legal indemnification for the City of San Diego.

The mayor’s proposed regulations include:

Permit and fees: Each company wishing to operate within City limits will be issued a six-month permit and will be required to pay $150 per device annually. Operators will only be allowed to amend or renew their permit, including increasing the size of their fleet, during the permit issuance months of January and June. Companies offering an approved equity program can receive a $15 per device reduction in their annual fee.

Operators will also be required to pay a “performance bond,” which can be returned in the event they cease operation in San Diego and remove their devices. 

Limiting speed: Using geofencing technology, operators will be required to slow their devices down to eight miles per hour in designated high-pedestrian traffic zones around the City, including:

- Boardwalks in Mission Beach, Pacific Beach and La Jolla beach areas;

- Spanish Landing;

- Petco Park;

- Balboa Park;

- NTC Park;

- Mission Bay Park.

In two other areas in downtown San Diego, scooters will be required to slow to three miles per hour, with riders being notified they are in a no-ride zone. Those areas are: 

- North and South Embarcadero;

- Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade.

Staging and parking: Operators may stage their devices in groups of up to four, and there must be 40 feet between groups of staged devices. They will also be prohibited from staging in school zones and hospital zones.

Additionally, users will be prohibited from ending their rides in some areas, including the beach area boardwalks, the perimeter of Petco Park and the north and south Embarcadero walks in downtown.

The City will encourage residents to report misplaced or abandoned bikes and scooters through the “Get It Done” application. Operators will be notified of the reports and will have three hours to remove the devices or face potential impound and associated fees.  

City indemnification: Each operator will be required to indemnify the City from liability claims and each will need to hold a liability insurance policy.

Rider education: Prior to each use, companies will be required to educate riders of local and state vehicle and traffic codes and the cost of a citation for violating those laws. Each device also will need to be clearly labeled “Riding on Sidewalks is Prohibited” and include operator age requirements.

“The City of San Diego is taking a smart approach to dockless mobility,” said Colin Parent, executive director of Circulate San Diego. “San Diego is ensuring access to new transportation choices, while balancing the needs of other users of the public right-of-way.” 

Data sharing: The operators will provide the City with detailed monthly reports that will be useful for Climate Action Plan monitoring and mobility planning, including but not limited to:

- Deployed Device Data, including fleet size and utilization rates;

- Trip information, including start/end points, routes, distances and duration;

- Parking information;

- Reported incidents and actions taken;

- Reported obstructions/hazards and actions taken;

- Maintenance activities.

“We welcome more mobility options and these new regulations take a common-sense approach that will allow this emerging market to grow in a responsible way,” Faulconer said. “Scooters and e-bikes are providing an opportunity for thousands of people to get around town without a car, creating less traffic and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.”

“I am pleased to see the City adopt sensible regulations for dockless scooters and bicycles that prioritizes public safety and embraces the sharing economy,” said City Councilmember Chris Cate. “Resolving this issue has been one of my top priorities, and I am appreciative that my solutions will be implemented.”
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