SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – Ahead of the busy summer season, the City of San Diego is working on an emergency ordinance that would ban dockless motorized scooters on the heavily trafficked Mission Beach boardwalk.
According to state law, scooters are already banned from sidewalks, but the proposed ordinance would extend that band to the boardwalk.
It’s a move Councilmember Lorie Zapf and others hope will put the brakes on future accidents.
The ordinance was drafted after a number of residents complained of riders running into other people.
San Diego Lifeguards on Friday said they have recently responded to 13 motorized scooter incidents requiring medical aid.
Stephanie is from Ocean Beach and walks the board walk about twice a week. She said she has already had her fair share of near collisions.
“It’s just really inconvenient for locals. They don’t apologize and I think because they are too wrapped up in what they are doing, they are not paying attention,” she said.
Local resident Ryan Arndt and his out of town friend, Bobby Rindhage think riders should not be punished for a few bad apples.
“We try to be paying attention, be slow and take our time moving around, but we've definitely seen people abuse it. But it's like anything there are laws for speed limits in the streets, and you'll see certain people abuse it and that's unfortunate,” said Rindhage.
According to Captain Tina Williams, with the San Diego Police Department's Northern Division, 182 citations have been given out for riding without a helmet.
San Diego police on Friday also said they have and will continue to cite users for riding on the sidewalk and with more than one person on a scooter.
A City Council spokesperson said it would be up to the public safety officials like lifeguards or police officers to enforce the emergency ordinance.
The penalty for breaking the ordinance remains unknown at this time.
Both LimeBike and Bird said they are working with city officials to resolve the issue.
The vote on the ordinance is expected to take place on May 22nd, and it would specifically affect the boardwalk from Crystal Pier South to the jetty in Mission Beach.
Bird Spokesman Kenneth Baer in a statement to News 8 said:
"Since Bird launched here in January, the people San Diego have truly embraced us as a convenient, environmentally friendly way to get around. In our productive conversations with the city, we all agree about the importance of protecting the public right of way from all vehicles -- cars, bikes, and Birds. We are optimistic that we can collaborate with San Diego officials to build a framework that permits more transportation options that help the city meet its ambitious goals to reduce its carbon footprint by 40 percent by 2030. To begin addressing the concerns raised by city officials, Bird is in the process of hiring Safety Ambassadors to educate the community about proper riding and parking habits. As we continue this dialogue with the city, we at Bird will continue to abide by our Save Our Sidewalks Pledge, which includes collecting all vehicles each evening, growing responsibly, and remitting $1 per vehicle per day to city governments so they can build more bike lanes, promote safe riding, and maintain our shared infrastructure."
In a statement sent to News 8, LimeBike said:
"LimeBike is committed to operating a safe and reliable, multi-model transportation system in the City of San Diego. We will provide updates to our customers where riding is and isn't permissible. We have a robust safe rider education program, and are the first and only company to have online and offline rider education campaigns. We look forward to working with the City in the coming months as they discuss scooter riding in the community."