The Chaos of San Diego’s Scooter World

by on September 19, 2019 · 1 comment

in Ocean Beach, San Diego

Corral on Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach. Photo by Steve O San Diego

It seems like everyday there’s news in the chaotic world of scooters in San Diego. There was a major piece in the New York Times warning tourists of San Diego’s scooters. And just this week, the Los Angeles Times examined the new technology of “geo-fencing” which scooter companies employ in order to comply with the demands of cities wanting to limit their range and speeds .

Meanwhile in San Diego, Uber announced earlier this month that it’s pulling almost all of its Jump branded e-bikes and scooters out of the city boundaries – except naval bases San Diego and Point Loma – because of an on-going dispute the company is having with San Diego’s new regulations governing dockless scooters and bikes. La Jolla Light

One month ago, the city of San Diego stated the parent company of Lime electric scooters violated the city’s new “geofencing” speed limits in certain areas at least three times and began the process of revoking the company’s permit to operate in the city. Lime officials deny these violations and claim the city is mistaken.  Some time this month a code enforcement hearing will determine if Lime scooters stay or go. If Lime loses the gamble, it will have to wait at least six months before applying for another permit.  KPBS

Jump and Lime are part of the group of seven companies currently permitted to rent devices in San Diego, all of whose six-month permits were renewed in July. The others include: Bird, Lyft, Skip, Spin and Wheels.

San Diego State University has banned scooters from its campus (along with all electric and motorized versions of skateboards, bikes, roller skates and hoverboards). Students are able to use these kind of dockless vehicles to commute to and from SDSU, but riders will be blocked by ‘geofencing’ around the main campus on Montezuma Mesa. KPBS

Then there’s these two San Diego guys who run a company that picks up scooters they say have been left improperly around hotels or other private properties. John Heinkel and Dan Borelli, operate a small outfit called ScootScoop and use a flatbed truck to tow away the scooters. They say they have impounded more than 12,500 electric scooters in just over a year of running their operation. Bird and Lime have in turn sued them in California state court accusing the entrepreneurs of unlawfully taking their vehicles. Reuters

There has been another development in San Diego’s scooter world. A new business has come to town to market their scooters. These are different, however. With scooters from the company, The Real Scooters, the rider would own it as opposed to rent it. The buy-your-own scooter is sold for $1,700; it  can go up to 35 miles per hour and travel up to around 60 miles before they need a recharge. Fox5

Morgan West, co-owner of The Real Scooter says:

“People aren’t going to be leaving them in front of ADA ramps, fire hydrants or private property because they own them. They’re not just going to leave them there for someone to mess with or destroy, which you see a lot of with the rideshares.”

And of course, it was just a few weeks ago that scooter companies got their wish: white-outlined corrals were established in many locations throughout Ocean Beach, other beach communities and downtown San Diego – space carved out of our dwindling common areas – where they can park their machines.

As scooter companies come and go in San Diego, scooters were definitely a topic during Wednesday’s mayoral debate at the Mission Bay High School. One candidate, City Council member Barbara Bry has called for the City to implement a moratorium on dockless scooters citywide, while one of her opponents – Todd Gloria – was one of the California legislators who successfully had a bill signed into law allowing scooter riders to ride helmet-less. It was just a month ago, that San Diego witnessed three skull fractures from scooter accidents in just one week on our streets.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Doug Blackwood September 21, 2019 at 7:49 pm

Why are scooter corrals in red zones, and how much are those companies pay for our streets?


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