Weak Scooter Regulations Passed by San Diego City Council

by on April 24, 2019 · 8 comments

in Ocean Beach, San Diego

Beach residents protest lack of regs for scooters. Screen grab from 10News.

The San Diego City Council on Tuesday, April 23, unanimously passed new regulations for dockless scooters, which place some restrictions on speeds and parking but do not limit the number of scooters companies can place on our streets or on the numbers of scooter companies allowed to use our public infrastructure.

Here, briefly, are the restrictions:

  • the speed of dockless scooters is limited to 15 to 8 mph in high-traffic areas;
  • speed limits are cut to 3 mph in areas such as the Embarcadero and the Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade, and the boardwalk in Mission and Pacific Beach;
  • scooter riders are banned from parking near hospitals, schools, beach area boardwalks, the Petco Park perimeter and certain parts of the Embarcadero;
  • In downtown, scooter riders and companies will only be able to park devices in groups of four, with at least 40 feet between groups;
  • scooter companies like Bird, Lime and Razor will be required to use geofencing technology on their scooters to limit the speeds and parking abilities in designated areas;
  • city council will designate scooter parking zones along streets to decrease the number of scooters on sidewalks;
  • scooter companies will be required to obtain six-month operational permits for $5,000 for an operational permit and pay $150 per scooter or bike each year;
  • Operating permits can be renewed by the companies in January or June, at which time they could negotiate operating terms like fleet size, which they are not currently required to report to the city.

It was in February when the San Diego City Council’s Active Transportation and Infrastructure Committee unanimously approved the package. The committee requested that the issue returns to them within six months of its implementation for further review and to ensure the city is keeping pace with the evolution of technologies like geofencing.

To enforce the new regulations – which is always a sticking point – the city will use state grant funding to pay local law enforcement officers overtime.

Two days before the Council vote, dozens of residents staged a rally in Mission Beach to protest the lack of restrictions on the scooters, and especially their unlimited use on the boardwalk. And ironically, just hours after the protest, a teen was injured while riding a scooter with a friend.

News sources:



{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Vern April 24, 2019 at 12:06 pm

Scooter Removal
San Diego 858-262-1912


FJL April 24, 2019 at 4:32 pm

Call me cautiously optimistic but these regulations, if indeed are enforceable, are better than I expected would pass.


Tyler April 25, 2019 at 5:32 am

Anything short of a ban is weak to this crowd. Listening to the opposition reminds me of Coronado residents and bike lanes. Other than gmaking sure they aren’t in the right of way on sidewalks etc is really the only concern, everything else is just being overly dramatic. Someone being dumb and injuring themselves isn’t our concern, just like it isn’t with driving, surfing, etc.


Chris April 25, 2019 at 7:24 pm

Some people are not happy unless they are unhappy.


Chris April 25, 2019 at 7:31 pm

I agree the main thing should that they are not in the right of way on the sidewalks and I’d also say they shouldn’t be ridden on sidewalks either just as bikes are not allowed. I also agree that anyone who crashes them due to their own lack of common sense should not result in them being banned.


Donnie J April 25, 2019 at 8:57 am

This new set of rules is insufficient and will not be enforceable. They need to include a prohibition on riding on the sidewalk EVERYWHERE. Pedestrians, including disabled pedestrians, cannot coexist on a sidewalk. Bicycles have been prohibited for decades but people still ride on the sidewalk.

Enforcement will be impossible, just like cars speeding or disability placard abuse. When you call the police to report a car parked in a disabled parking space or a person blocking the sidewalk by parking on a sidewalk, the person is gone by the time the police arrive. And the disabled person had to park elsewhere or negotiate their way into the street and walk or wheelchair themselves in danger of being hit by a car.

These new rules are unacceptable.


rick callejon April 25, 2019 at 10:23 am

Please wear a helmet.


ZZ April 25, 2019 at 11:16 am

Bird just raised its San Diego price from 15 to 27 cents a minute. That’s quite a big increase! If I want to get from one end of OB to another fast without a car, still not a bad deal, about $1.75 total. But a half hour joyride around Mission Bay goes from $5.50 to $9.50, pretty pricey.

I will use other companies for now, but realistically the era of heavily subsidized e-scooters is coming to an end soon. Between the taxes, regulations, and the need to eventually turn a profit, the market is going to probably cut the number of scooters on the streets by half or more.

I also recently tried those big red electric Jump bikes, which you can rent with your Uber app. I just didn’t like them too much, not as fun as a scooter. They are also heavy, so lifting them up large curbs etc isn’t nice. The lack of resistance of the pedals feels weird. I do know some people who commute both by bike and car from OB to PB. They could be a nice green alternative to driving when they aren’t feeling up to a real bike ride to work and back. However, there isn’t much of a fun element to it.


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