Federal ADA Lawsuit Targets San Diego Scooters

by on January 15, 2019 · 14 comments

in Ocean Beach, San Diego

By Greg Moran /  Los Angeles Times

SAN DIEGO — The city of San Diego and electric scooter brands Lime and Bird are the targets of a lawsuit filed in federal court alleging the ubiquitous motorized vehicles are violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by impeding and blocking access to city streets and sidewalks.

The suit filed by the group Disability Rights California and three disabled San Diego residents is seeking class-action status for people with mobility or sight disabilities who navigate sidewalks, curb ramps and public spaces also occupied by scooter riders.

“Without full use of the sidewalk and curb ramps at street intersections, persons with mobility and/or visual impairments have significant barriers in crossing from a pedestrian walkway to a street,” the suit alleges. “This is exacerbated when the sidewalk itself is full of obstructions and no longer able to be fully and freely used by people with disabilities.”

The suit accuses the city of not maintaining streets and sidewalks in a way that doesn’t discriminate against the disabled and allowing “dockless scooters used primarily for recreational purposes to proliferate unchecked throughout San Diego and to block safe and equal access for people with disabilities.”

The lawsuit also alleges the scooter companies have been allowed to “appropriate the public commons for their own profit.”

For the balance of the article.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Eric January 15, 2019 at 2:24 pm

While I think scooters are great in concept the current situation is a total cluster duck. Hopefully the DSC wins. This should be a slam dunk.


retired botanist January 15, 2019 at 3:06 pm

Sigh, everything nowadays ends up as a lawsuit and its depressing that this seems to be the only recourse left anymore, vs. having one’s District or State Representative actually represent for a change. Having said that, this is an excellent approach to a national problem and I agree with Eric that it should be a slam dunk. For those who advocate scooters- believe me, its a bunch of greenwashing, as per the current trend towards spinning everything new as ecologically superior. The actual ecological footprint of the new scooter trend? Check it out below- sure its maybe better than cars, but believe me again, all these scooter users are also driving cars, the scooters get littered when they’re trashed and end up in the ocean, the landfill, and the public’s public property.


ZZ January 15, 2019 at 4:51 pm

The article says that scooters use 99% less carbon than cars. And that is using DC’s power mix, which is dirtier than California’s. (We use very little coal compared to the east coast).

He worries than the daily scooter collection is done in cars and makes up for this. However, his worst assumptions about this (driving 10 miles to collect 5 scooters) are very unrealistic. I’ve seen people with 15+ in their pickup trucks, and they are usually in groups. Regarding the blocking sidewalks issue, as I noted before, this is in reality pretty rare. Seeing cars blocking sidewalks and ramps is much more common. Sue GM about this? We are only 1 year into this tech revolution, I hope to see a solution to this rare problem come soon. In the meanwhile, if you see a scooter blocking a sidewalk it takes 5 seconds to move one.


Eric January 15, 2019 at 6:20 pm

Yes, it does take only 5 seconds to move a scooter ”IF” you are a healthy. Why should I or anyone else pickup Lime or Bird garbage strewn all over the sidewalks? This lawsuit is being brought by disabled people who deserve to have their travels unimpeded by dheads dropping their scooters or bikes without a care for anyone but themselves. I don’t see this as a reaction to the scooters, they are efficient. If I was not disabled myself I would be owning one. It’s a reaction to the behavior of the riders and how do you stop that? Get rid of the rental scooters laying all over the streets. Since the people riding the scooters don’t own the scooters there is no incentive to take care of them so they leave them all willy nilly all over the place making them hazards in public right of ways. This isn’t about the ahole in his GM blocking a corner, there are laws that address those ding dongs, nice diversion though.


Vern January 16, 2019 at 6:04 am

Scooters blocking sidewalks is anything but rare and scooters certainly aren’t a solution to the “last mile” problem. In fact, the “last mile” problem is a bunch of hooey. Scooters aren’t green tech during manufacturing, shipping, charging or “nesting”. The entire supply chain relies on petroleum.

As for scooter apologists picking up and moving scooters when left lying on sidewalks, driveways, people’s private property, flower beds and planters, thank you for picking up litter in the community.

By the way, as San Diego has been the epicenter of Hep-A… who cleans these scooters between each fun-filled use?


elle January 19, 2019 at 11:50 am

I own a shop downtown that faces the “public” right of way (sidewalk). I am constantly moving these scooters from the sidewalk that are left throughout the day in front and around my shop (inclusive of sidewalk ramps) blocking access to pedestrians and the disabled (they are very often just thrown around in every-way imaginable). I fully support this lawsuit against a company that profiteers from the use of the public ROW (yes, you and me pay for sidewalks and their maintenance) and my constant free labor without any accountability.


Peter from South O January 23, 2019 at 9:39 pm

Elle, there is hope: https://www.scootscoop.com/


Vern January 24, 2019 at 7:23 am

Gotta love ScootScoop. Hopefully they disinfect them, too!


elle January 26, 2019 at 6:32 pm

Thanks Peter – I shall keep them busy!


Vern January 24, 2019 at 7:22 am

A little over a month ago, an inebriated woman riding a scooter, talking on her cell phone hit me from behind while I was walking along Sunset Cliffs at the Arco station. She was apparently going quite slowly – I wasn’t hurt, but she fell and apparently damaged her cell phone. Nevertheless, she left the scooter where it fell, grabbed her phone and wandered down Newport toward the Farmer’s Market.
The “last mile problem” solved!


elle January 26, 2019 at 6:29 pm
Dan February 10, 2019 at 9:30 am

We are servicing private property and will remove.
Speaking with the ADA this week to assist them.


Peter from South O February 11, 2019 at 2:50 am

You are speaking with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?
Do you actually HEAR it respond when you speak?


Vern February 11, 2019 at 9:57 am

Dan, your services are greatly appreciated.
Uber’s “JUMP” bicycles are now using residential sidewalks as their “service bays”.
Two guys in a white cargo van (possibly with a big #12 in red on the back, lower right) will pull up, park at a corner (not against it) get out and walk back and forth around the van, then around the van again, then to a “nest”of rental bikes, turn one of the rental bikes upside down mid-sidewalk, wrench out parts, wrench in parts. Talk on phones, wander around the van again, all in about a thirty to 45 minute period. Seems they should have a service center (with accompanying business license) to do all this work.
I don’t recall any ordinance allowing anyone to set up a wood shop, hardware store, bike shop or machine shop on residential sidewalks or street corners.


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