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New rules aim to crack down on scooter companies in San Diego

With thousands of scooters deployed across the county, CBS 8 is working for you to break down what the proposed new rules mean.

SAN DIEGO — A new set of rules for scooters and other ride share devices is being considered by the San Diego City Council. They would change the way scooter companies operate within the city.

“I think finally we have a set of proposed regulations and an approach that will be an improvement, or could be an improvement, over what we’ve had in the past,” said Jonathan Freeman, founder of the citizen’s group ‘Safe Walkways.’ 

The city’s Active Transportation & Infrastructure Committee approved the comprehensive proposal last Wednesday. The next stop will be full city council.

So what’s in these new rules?

First off, they’d be switching to a new system. The old one allowed any ride share company to operate if they paid for a permit.  The new system would only allow a select few companies to have exclusive operating agreements with the city.  It would also place a cap on the total number of scooters allowed.

“No more than 8,000 scooters will be deployed at any given time and no more than 4 operators,” said Alyssa Muto, Director of the City’s Sustainability & Mobility Department.

According to the City’s own data, about 6,000 to 7,000 ride share devices are deployed across the city on any given day, falling within that cap of 8,000.

But the new rules do propose cracking down on parking and staging on sidewalks. It would require all scooters be left in the city-designated corrals, which are those white rectangles painted on the ground.

“By making it one specific rule of parking in a corral, it’ll make it much more predictable and user-friendly for the users in San Diego,” said Muto.

One rider CBS 8 spoke to in Pacific Beach agreed.

“Parking them on the street or having designated areas for scooters to be parked, I think that’s great,” said Patrick Koetting. “You definitely don’t want them on the sidewalk, and the thing that bugs me is when people ride them on the sidewalks.”

The new rules would give companies one hour to respond after being notified that their scooters are parked on the sidewalk, and if they don’t take care of it, the scooters could be impounded with companies also paying a fine. Jonathan Freeman from the citizen’s group ‘Safe Walkways’ wants to see the city back up these new rules with some real enforcement.

“Without the city putting resources behind education, monitoring and enforcement, the rules themselves will be meaningless,” said Freeman.  “We’re not anti-scooter. We’re pro-pedestrian safety.”

The new rules will likely go before the full city council sometime this month, and they may also need a green light from the California Coastal Commission.

WATCH: San Diego looking to downsize number of scooter companies in operation city-wide (May 2021).

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