The answer, according to San Diego Police Department is: The same way all other laws are enforced, on a case-by-case basis, with highest-priority calls addressed first.
At present, scooter violations will go into the general police-call mix and will be responded to according to their severity, said SDPD Lt. and spokesperson Shawn Takeuchi.
“Officers will not have radar guns enforcing scooter speeds, and there are obviously some areas outside our jurisdiction that we cannot enforce,” said Takeuchi.
Noting SDPD’s workforce remains below desired levels despite recent pay increases and heightened recruitment, Takeuchi said technology will be relied on to help slow scooters down in high-volume areas.
“All the scooter companies will be required to use self-enforcing geofencing technology, putting ‘boundaries’ around certain areas,” he said. “That technology uses constantly transmitted data to automatically reduce scooter speeds in certain designated areas.”
In specific geofenced areas, operators will slow scooters to 8 mph. Three of those designated areas are pedestrian-only, where operators will slow scooters to 3 mph with a push message notifying riders to leave that area. Geofencing will be in effect for beach-area boardwalks, Balboa Park, NTC Park, Mission Bay Park, Petco Park and pedestrian-only locations, including North/South Embarcadero, MLK Jr. Promenade and La Piazza della Famiglia in Little Italy.
Takeuchi noted new scooter regulations now require them to be left in designated scooter corrals, 330 of which are now in downtown, with more being determined in other City neighborhoods.
“Most corrals are being staged in front of red curbs, a dead- space area on the street,” Takeuchi said.
The SDPD spokesperson said education about new scooter laws for users of all ages will be a big part of the initial rollout of scooter enforcement.
“We will stop double-riding,” said Takeuchi, who added such violations are “not considered child endangerment.”
“What you find frequently is that out-of-town tourists are the ones engaging in this behavior,” he said. “With tourists, our first approach is to educate them to cease their behavior.”
Takeuchi added the police department has to strike a balance between the spirit of the law and the realities of everyday enforcement.
“We can’t take a 100-percent zero-tolerance stance and just give everyone a ticket,” he said. “We hire officers and train them to use their discretion.”
Concerning scooters and new regulations governing them, Takeuchi said the bottom line is,“We will enforce scooter violations as we can. We will use education and warnings first, then officers will use citations at their discretion.”