“San Diegans deserve a safe, unobstructed and accessible public right-of-way,” said Bry. “Electric scooters have posed challenge after challenge on our City sidewalks, boardwalks and pedestrian walking areas.
“In May, the City Council approved a permitting and regulatory program that went into effect July 1. We believed these rules could help reestablish order on our sidewalks,” Bry said. “Instead, we are left with companies willfully ignoring staging restrictions and geofencing requirements.”
Meanwhile, PB resident Bill Zent has launched scooterban.com, with its petition drive to “neuter” scooters.
States Zent’s website: “Restore sanity to our streets and sidewalks. Support Barbara Bry's proposed ordinance to ban scooters. Scooters are injuring the riders, pedestrians and pose a real hazard to everyone trying to have a casual walk at the beach or downtown or anywhere.”
As of Aug. 5, Zent was more than halfway toward his goal of presenting 1,000 signatures in favor of banning scooters to the City Council.
Zent gave a laundry list of reasons for his neuter scooter crusade.
“They are being leased to underage minors and are a hazard to motorists and pedestrians,” he said. “There are so many of them you can’t even walk down the sidewalk without having to pick them up and move them… I saw a guy on a scooter the other day tandem riding with his baby on his chest. Enough is enough.
“Personally, I think they need to go,” he said. “Even the corrals aren’t working. They’re full with all different kinds of scooters and bikes. Scooters are supposed to be for last-mile transportation. If people want to own a scooter, they can buy one for $200.”
Excerpts from comments on Zent’s website:
“This is not the transportation solution we need at the beach … It’s time for us to force these irresponsible companies to abide by laws and common sense … Ban this nuisance … I have neighbors who woke up to scooter corals directly in front of their front doors. I would love to have one of these painted in front of our councilpersons’ homes, see how fast they act on the issue … They are dangerous and an eyesore … Scooters are a menace to society and an absolute blight.”
Ed Gallagher, a member of Pacific Beach Planning Group, speaking for himself, claimed to have been Zent’s first anti-scooter petition signer.
“The idea of a ban/moratorium is clearly tapping into a great deal of local frustration on this issue from PB residents and businesses,” Gallagher said. “Not a permanent ban. It’s a moratorium until we work out how to do it safely and responsibly. In my personal opinion, the City should draft an RFP (request for proposals) and solicit bids to operate as we do with other public utilities.”
Added Gallagher: “The City drafts a contract with terms that fit our needs and companies agree to those terms and, if they fail to comply, they lose the contract. What’s so hard about that?”
In response to Bry’s call for a scooter “moratorium,” and some residents wanting them banned, City press secretary Christina Di Leva Chadwick said, “We believe the new scooter regulations allow the industry to evolve responsibly and gives the City the power to hold operators accountable by revoking permits for those that don’t follow the rules.
“Given these regulations have been in place for only several weeks, additional time is necessary to determine if the laws in place are having the desired effect,” Di Leva Chadwick said. “The City continues to stress the need for maximum regulatory compliance, including geofencing, speed limits and staging.”
Concerning alleged non-compliance of permit conditions by some scooter companies, Di Leva Chadwick said: “The City is actively monitoring operators to ensure maximum compliance of the law. While several operators have taken proactive steps to get into compliance following receipt of a notice of violation, the City has found, through field testing and evaluation, that one or more operators are still not in compliance. The City is now moving forward with a permit revocation process for one operator, and a notice of violation has been levied on a fifth operator.”
Concerning problems/complaints the mayor’s office is getting about scooters these days, Di Leva Chadwick replied, “Geofencing, corral staging and user-compliance issues such as speed limits, double riding and other existing street laws."
Regarding the Pacific Beach resident who has started an online petition drive calling for scooters to be banned all together, Di Leva Chadwick said: “Mayor Faulconer has previously supported, and continues to support, a scooter ban on the boardwalk. Unfortunately, the City Council did not see the need for such a measure and voted it down more than a year ago. The mayor welcomes the City Council’s reconsideration of a boardwalk ban at any time.”