San Diego City Council Bans Scooters on Boardwalks from Mission Beach to La Jolla, Not Ocean Beach

by on December 20, 2019 · 5 comments

in Ocean Beach, San Diego

Anti-scooter protest, Mission Beach, April 20, 2019

In a close vote last Monday, December 16, the San Diego City Council voted to ban scooters and other motorized devices along the boardwalks from Mission Beach to La Jolla. The ban does not include Ocean Beach. It could be argued OB doesn’t really have a “boardwalk” or the one it has is very short.

At any rate, Councilwoman Barbara Bry has been pushing for a ban – and she got four other votes on Monday: Jen Campbell of District 2 – who reportedly strongly supported the proposal – , Monica Montgomery, Vivian Moreno and Mark Kersey. And Council President Georgette Gómez, Chris Ward, Chris Cate and Scott Sherman voted in opposition.

Bry is, of course, running for Mayor; Gomez is running for Susan Davis’ 53rd Congressional seat, the 50th; Scott Sherman, a Republican, is also running for Mayor, and Ward is campaigning for the Assembly’s 78th District.

The boardwalks in Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, Mission Bay Park, Bayside Walk and La Jolla Shores will be areas off limits to scooters and motorized riders.

With the new law, scooter companies will now be required to use geofencing technology to slow their devices down to 3 mph in the boardwalk areas to discouraging riding.  Companies like Lime and Bird, of course, opposed the ban. Barbara Bry said, “This is clearly a public safety issue.”

Jennifer Campbell said, “I almost got run over on Easter Sunday. That was the last time I tried to walk on the boardwalk.”

Council President Gómez said, in opposition to the ban, she couldn’t support it would be too challenging for law enforcement to ensure that people follow the rules. She said, “Even before this there are certain things that are prohibited that are still occurring because we’re not capable of enforcing.”

Also in opposition to the ban, Sherman brushed aside the arguments of proponents, indicating he felt traditional bicycles and push scooters were as much of a hazard as the motorized devices. He claimed, “I think we’ve been missing the bigger discussion. I don’t like saying motorized scooters are bad, scooters you push are good.”

The swing vote, Councilman Kersey, commented, “It strikes me, as I weigh how I’m going to vote on this, that a lot of this, in fact almost all of it, comes down to enforcement. We can have a ban but if it’s not enforced, people aren’t going to listen to it.” He voted in favor of the ban.

The issue had come to the City Council because for the last couple of years, residents of those coastal communities have been complaining about the scooters, their dangers, their risks, their take-over of public spaces. Also emergency room doctors have been complaining about them for a couple of years, as ER injuries involving scooters have soared, and take up more hospital beds than regular bicycle and pedestrian injuries.

Dozens of residents showed up for the hearing in support of the ban. The U-T quoted a number of them. Jennie Lenhart of Mission Beach said, “I don’t know how to say this nicely or politely, but this is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen in Mission Beach. For this to have even happened in the first place, I’m appalled by the City Council. It’s a matter of greed is all I can say. I don’t see any sense in it.”

Paul Wilson said, “This is not so much about shared mobility devices as it is the onslaught of personally owned, privately owned motorized devices. They’re a hazard. Motorized vehicles don’t belong out there.”

The U-T reported:

Moments before the vote, Councilwoman Bry made one last plea for support, arguing that the ban would actually make it easier for police officers to enforce the rules.

“The one thing about this ban is that it’s very clear cut,” she said. “The motorized device is either on the boardwalk or it’s not, so I think it actually makes it easier to enforce. We’re not in this murky area of how fast or slow is something going.”

News source: San Diego Union-Tribune

 

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Avatar Chris December 22, 2019 at 8:03 am

It’ll be interesting to see how well this gets enforced if at all. And what about ebikes? I know is says “no motorized vehicles” but will that include motorized wheelchairs?

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Peter Peter from South O December 22, 2019 at 8:35 am

ADA trumps all local laws.

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Avatar Chris December 22, 2019 at 9:25 am

Just to be clear, I am not against the ban at all. I’m just curious how it will be enforced and as i mentioned before, what about things like motorized wheelchairs?

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Peter Peter from South O December 22, 2019 at 3:30 pm

The Americans with Disabilities Act is a federal law. Federal law trumps local and state laws and ordnances. There will be no new restrictions on personal mobility devices as a result of the city action. The city council action specifically addresses “micro-mobility scooters” and motorized bicycles.
The police will ticket and judges will decide, fines will be issued and vehicles confiscated. Good riddance.

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Avatar Chris B December 23, 2019 at 2:07 pm

Now if only we could keep the scooters, bikes and skateboards off of the OB pier. More than once I have just barely escaped being hit while enjoying a stroll by a nearly silent electric scooter flying down the walkway from behind.

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