SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – Dockless bikes and scooters continue to cause controversy across San Diego, and on Monday, Mayor Kevin Faulconer spoke with News 8 about how the city is responding.
Mayor Faulconer said he does not like the destruction, but he understands the frustration. The destruction he is referring to is of one bike sawed in half and another thrown down a beach cliff – pictures of the two separate incidents were posted on social media over the weekend.
“Vandalism is never going to be tolerated. We want this program to be successful and I think it can be, I think it will be but like any new program that starts, you want to make sure those rules are being followed,” said the mayor.
News 8 obtained a copy of a letter the city sent to dockless bike and scooter companies. The letter contains the laws that are frequently violated.
The business of dockless bikes and scooters is so new in San Diego, that most people are not aware of the rules. For example, it is illegal to leave a dockless bike in a public park. Dockless bikes can temporarily be locked up in a bike rack, but evidence shows that is not happening.
It is also illegal to block a public sidewalk – a violation of the American’s with Disabilities Act because a wheelchair cannot get by.
The city does have the power to impound illegally parked bikes, but they are hoping the rental companies will do a better job of education so they do not have to.
Last week, Bird's CEO said the company would pick up all of its scooters from city streets every night to inspect and repair vehicles as necessary and reposition the scooters "to where the vehicles are wanted the next day, so they are not cluttering our neighborhoods."
The company also pledged that it will not increase the number of vehicles in any city unless they are being used on average at least three times per day and will remove any underutilized scooters.
Additionally, Travis VanderZanden offered to provide city governments $1 per scooter per day "so they can use this money to build more bike lanes, promote safe riding, and maintain our shared infrastructure."
A spokeswoman for the City Attorney's Office said that proposed arrangement appears to be a donation to the city, which must be made in accordance with the City Council's donation policy and reviewed by the city's lawyers.
The policy stipulates that donations must be used for city business, though donations can be restricted for certain purposes by the donor.
VanderZanden urged his counterparts at LimeBike, ofo, Mobike and Jump to sign onto the pledge, but so far none have done so, according to Bird.