Lime to Pull Its Scooters Out of San Diego

by on January 9, 2020 · 5 comments

in Ocean Beach, San Diego

Lime Scooter is pulling all of its scooters out of San Diego and says they will likely be gone by the end of January. The corporation is closing down its operations in 11 other markets as well.

Lime spokesperson Alex Youn said:

“As part of our path to profitability, Lime has made the difficult decision to exit San Diego and focus our resources on markets that allow us to meet our ambitious goals for 2020. We’re grateful to our team members, riders, Juicers and communities who supported us throughout this journey. We appreciate the partnership we’ve enjoyed with San Diego and remain hopeful we can reintroduce Lime back into the community when the time is right.”

Lime called San Diego one of the first cities to “welcome” their scooters but one of the last to develop rules. At its peak, Lime had 4500 scooters, or “devices” as some call them, in San Diego. So why is Lime leaving paradise?

Artie Ojeda at 7SanDiego reports:

Lime suggested the company would have preferred a clear regulatory framework but instead voiced concerns about impound transparency, rogue impound companies, and a potential ban on beach boardwalks that would decrease ridership. The company also expressed frustration of being involved in last December’s permit revocation hearing. …

In July, the city approved rules that include a $150 permit fee for each device. …

The city had sought to revoke Lime’s permits after alleging it had violated geo-fencing rules that limit the speeds of the devices.

As one of the more prominent scooter companies operating in San Diego, Lime received its share of complaints, by beach residents, by emergency room doctors, and by some politicians.  Councilmember Barbara Bry – who is running for mayor – called for a ban on all scooters last year. Ojeda quoted Bry:

“It’s clear that the scooter industry has an unsustainable business model.  In addition, a study released by the University of California San Francisco documents a dramatic increase in traumatic head injuries at twice the rate of bike riders. The study recommends that scooter riders wear a helmet– something the City of San Diego cannot require because of state legislation.”

Councilman Scott Sherman – who is also running for mayor – was also quoted by Ojeda who attributed Lime’s departure to recent boardwalk bans:

“Those who speak warmly of innovation while at the same time knee-capping innovative startups are being hypocritical. San Diego leaders need to decide once and for all if we want to be a cutting edge innovative city that embraces new technology or a city that merely tries to ban the future.”

So Lime had been getting push-back from neighborhoods. Well, it was never about the technology, it was the way the scooters – including Lime’s – were rolled out.



{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Peter from South O January 9, 2020 at 1:39 pm

A pox on all of them. JAMA just released some of the numbers that were lacking in understanding just what a danger these rolling deathtraps are. In the 4 year period (2014-2018) 14,651 injuries serious enough to require emergency response, ONE THIRD of them involving head trauma. That is about twice the rate from bicycle accidents.
Good riddance. Hopefully, the rest of these things will be forced from the market eventually and we will get our sidewalks back.


Sam January 9, 2020 at 1:41 pm

“Well, it was never about the technology, it was the way the scooters – including Lime’s – were rolled out.”

…and they way people were riding/abusing them!


triggerfinger January 9, 2020 at 3:05 pm

SD didn’t “welcome” Lime. Lol.

They showed up in the middle of the night and piled them on our sidewalks and boardwalks.

Good riddance. Can’t believe moron investors keep burning cash on this failed experiment.


retired botanist January 9, 2020 at 5:02 pm

Well, its a small “Yay” from me, too. Clearly, Lime felt the vibe of hostility, and a pinch in their pockets from the boardwalk ban and the ‘rogue impoundments”. Back to the drawing board, scooter tech companies…you can’t just dump something on the public, usurp public space, and expect everyone to applaud you for your fake, “green innovation”. I can only hope other cities wake up to the poor footprint, no, make that scooter-print, these companies leave in their wake. :-)


John O. January 10, 2020 at 9:43 am

The existence of those things are really a testament to the horrible public transit system. The idea is great… but the urban implementation is not safe nor well thought out. I doubt it ever will be due to our reliance on cars and busy high traffic roads. Hour long commutes on increasingly busy freeways is a common way of life for many.
I never used a scooter. I think they’ll probably be passed over as self driving cars will be the next big thing. The scooters will be relegated to special uses in controlled areas.
The kids have already been born that will never have a driver’s license cause they won’t need it.


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