Mayoral Candidate Barbara Bry Calls for Moratorium on Electric Scooters in San Diego

by on July 30, 2019 · 6 comments

in Ocean Beach, San Diego

On Friday, July 26, Councilwoman Barbara Bry called for a moratorium on electric scooters in San Diego citing safety issues and lack of permitting. Bry, representing District 1 on the Council, is running for mayor against Assemblymember Todd Gloria, who has taken a different stance on the scooter issue.

Bry, who is also City Council President Pro Tem, released a public statement, saying, “Enough is enough – scooter companies have had their opportunity.” She laid out a list of problems the scooters have caused in San Diego, according to Morgan Cook at the San Diego Union-Tribune:

… injuries, strain on city resources, private companies going onto private property to retrieve scooters, and a “scooter graveyard” where the vehicles pile up, posing a long-term environmental threat. …

Bry has said regulations aren’t solving the problems, and it’s time to place a moratorium on them until the city demonstrates that it can develop a fiscally responsible, well-thought-out plan that ensures safety for people and the environment.

In a widely-publicized move – and over the Comic-Con weekend – the City of San Diego impounded more than 2,500 of the scooters for violations of the new city ordinances which limit parking and areas to ride that went into effect on July 1. The companies are being charged a fee to have them returned.

Last summer Bry tried unsuccessfully to have the City ban scooters on boardwalks and other specified areas.

Assemblymember Gloria disagrees with any banning of the scooters. He helped pass legislation back in 2018 that eliminated the requirement that adult scooter riders had to wear helmets – something Bry lobbied against. Gloria spokesman, Nick Serrano told the U-T:

“Our belief is that there’s probably more regulations that can be enacted regarding scooters, but banning them is not the right way to go.”

Cook at the U-T said:

Gloria has said scooters could help the city meet climate action goals, free up parking spaces and reduce traffic, and regulations must balance safety with those interests.

Here is an earlier statement about scooters Bry has published on her campaign website:

If you have driven downtown or tried to take a peaceful walk on the boardwalk lately, you’ve probably experienced San Diego’s newest accident avoidance adventure.

But the reality of our “micro-mobility” situation is not a game.

Our hospitals are reporting more serious injuries – both to riders and pedestrians. Limited parking spaces and disabled access ramps are being blocked. And our City has no idea how many scooters there are, whether they are being properly maintained, or how many people have been injured!

Don’t get me wrong. Dockless scooters can bring benefits to the community. They can even help provide low-cost last-mile transportation to some of the San Diego communities that need it the most.

The problem is, City administration has not taken regulation seriously.

Like other technical innovations – from short-term vacation rentals to ride-sharing services, City government has been slow to respond to the challenges these innovations create.

In fact, industry lobbyists successfully appealed to Sacramento legislators to take away our local right to enforce reasonable safety requirements for scooters!

I’ve led the effort to protect public health and safety, even though it has upset some industry advocates.

Our primary obligation is to protect the public.

That’s why I have fought for:

  • A prohibition on use of electric scooters in high-traffic pedestrian areas, on sidewalks and on boardwalks,
  • Local control of helmet regulations,
  • Maintenance and removal requirements and fines for unsafe or illegally parked scooters,
  • Up-to-date data reporting on the quantity and distribution of scooters around the City,
  • Equitable access to scooters for the communities that could benefit the most, and
  • Reasonable fees that can be invested in education, enforcement and infrastructure.

Like many issues in San Diego, the political players say they are “working on it.”


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Will July 30, 2019 at 10:38 pm

I live in a country with god knows how many guns despite the fact I hate them. I would prefer to ride a scooter without looking over my shoulder for a cop so long as I am obey traffic law. The riding on sidewalks and doubling up are bigger issues than helmets. The city should license riders.


Peter from South O July 31, 2019 at 3:48 am

The states ‘license riders’, not cities. You must be 15 1/2 or older AND have a valid state driver’s license or learner’s permit. Helmets are not required for adults (thanks to some shady legislation out of Sacramento) but are still required for the under-18 group (most of whom are riding against the scooter companies’ rules anyway).


Tyler July 31, 2019 at 6:15 am

Helmets are not required for adults (thanks to some shady legislation out of Sacramento)

Or you know…. common sense. Or are you one of those people who thinks everyone on a bike should have a helmet as well?


Bob Edwards August 2, 2019 at 9:22 am

I think motorcyclists should be required to wear helmets for sure. And a scooter of the type we’re talking about is motorized, so they should have to wear helmets, too.


Peter from South O July 31, 2019 at 6:52 am

I was referring to the huge effort by lobbyists for Uber Lime and Bird to ram the no helmet bill through. The original bill would have also permitted riding on the sidewalk and have done away with the requirement to have a driver’s license but was trimmed back during floor deliberations.

Common sense should include a desire for self-preservation. I’m all for natural selection, but we all have to contribute to the cost of dealing with the injuries and accidents. Between the emergency responders and the health care costs, we all share in those costs.


ZZ August 1, 2019 at 4:53 pm

Based on this article, I will be voting from Todd Gloria over anti-tech Barbara Bry who on both scooters and AirBNB, seeks to take away my rights.


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