SAN DIEGO — Feb. 29 marks the first-day electronic scooters, bikes, and other motorized devices are not be allowed on boardwalks at several popular San Diego beaches.
The city made this move for safety concerns after numerous injury accidents were reported.
Hoping for a fun day to ride scooters down the Mission Beach Boardwalk, Sara and Matt Siemens from Ft. Collins Colorado were in for a scooter shock.
“We thought, alright we’ll come up on the boardwalk and kind of [ride] up and down, then we get up we’re like, 'wait it’s not working anymore,' and it slowed down to like hardly moving at all,” said Sara Siemens on a scooter.
Not only does geofencing technology slow down the speed of motorized scooters on the boardwalk, but February 29 marks the first day the devices are officially banned on San Diego beach boardwalks.
"No, we thought that was a Leap Day thing. That would’ve been nice to know,” Siemens said.
It was smooth sailing for those walking and biking on the boardwalk Saturday where there was hardly a single scooter in sight.
San Diego Lifeguards Lt. Rich Stropky said the scooter ban is a blessing.
“I think it’s a really good move to kind of clean up the boardwalk, too many pedestrians, too many kids that are vulnerable to anything motorized on this boardwalk here,” Lt. Rich Stropky.
Lifeguards say they witnessed and treated far too many scooter accidents along the boardwalk, where riders would crash, fall and collide with others.
“We did have very serious medical aids as a result of that,” Stropky said.
The city of San Diego plans to install 70 signs to alert scooter users of the big change.
”Not allowing shared mobility devices or any other motorized devices on the oceanfront walk here in Pacific Beach, in Mission Beach in the bayside walk and in La Jolla shores,” said Anthony Santacroce, City of San Diego spokesperson.
But some safety advocates say the ban doesn’t go far enough in cases of scooters blocking the sidewalks or private company electric devices that are new and not geofenced.
“We’re making progress, and whatever issues come up we are taking time to look at them and evaluate them,” Stropky said.
Now with a ban, scooters users from out of town say there aren’t enough safe areas to ride.
“Out on the street, there really wasn’t any place to ride the scooters so had to come out in front of a bus or two, and it made it very challenging,” said Matt Siemens.
Sara Siemens says there needs to be better signage to alert tourists where it is appropriate for them to ride.
“Where can we be safe on them? We are not from here we don’t know where the bike lanes are or where it’s OK to ride these,” she said.
The Lyft scooter app shows the boardwalk is restricted.
“I’m in this little red zone and it tells me you have three minutes to get out of here,” said Jordan Siemens on the app.
Cruising away from the boardwalk, the Siemens family said they use the scooters elsewhere.
The San Diego Police Department will be issuing warnings to motorized scooter riders for the first 30 days and after that warning period, citations will be issued.