Scooter fury hits fever pitch in Pacific Beach
Published - 08/09/19 - 07:15 AM | 26604 views | 4 4 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Scooter riders in Pacific Beach. / Photo by Thomas Melville
Scooter riders in Pacific Beach. / Photo by Thomas Melville
Momentum continues to build against scooters, as District 1 Councilmember Barbara Bry has called for a moratorium on them, while a Pacific Beach resident has initiated an online petition drive to ban them, which netted more than 300 signatures in 48 hours.

“San Diegans deserve a safe, unobstructed and accessible public right-of-way,” said Bry. “Electric scooters have posed challenge after challenge on our City sidewalks, boardwalks and pedestrian walking areas.

“In May, the City Council approved a permitting and regulatory program that went into effect July 1. We believed these rules could help reestablish order on our sidewalks,” Bry said. “Instead, we are left with companies willfully ignoring staging restrictions and geofencing requirements.”

Meanwhile, PB resident Bill Zent has launched, with its petition drive to “neuter” scooters.

States Zent’s website: “Restore sanity to our streets and sidewalks. Support Barbara Bry's proposed ordinance to ban scooters. Scooters are injuring the riders, pedestrians and pose a real hazard to everyone trying to have a casual walk at the beach or downtown or anywhere.”

As of Aug. 5, Zent was more than halfway toward his goal of presenting 1,000 signatures in favor of banning scooters to the City Council.

Zent gave a laundry list of reasons for his neuter scooter crusade.

“They are being leased to underage minors and are a hazard to motorists and pedestrians,” he said. “There are so many of them you can’t even walk down the sidewalk without having to pick them up and move them… I saw a guy on a scooter the other day tandem riding with his baby on his chest. Enough is enough.

“Personally, I think they need to go,” he said. “Even the corrals aren’t working. They’re full with all different kinds of scooters and bikes. Scooters are supposed to be for last-mile transportation. If people want to own a scooter, they can buy one for $200.”

Excerpts from comments on Zent’s website:

“This is not the transportation solution we need at the beach … It’s time for us to force these irresponsible companies to abide by laws and common sense … Ban this nuisance … I have neighbors who woke up to scooter corals directly in front of their front doors. I would love to have one of these painted in front of our councilpersons’ homes, see how fast they act on the issue … They are dangerous and an eyesore … Scooters are a menace to society and an absolute blight.”

Ed Gallagher, a member of Pacific Beach Planning Group, speaking for himself, claimed to have been Zent’s first anti-scooter petition signer.

“The idea of a ban/moratorium is clearly tapping into a great deal of local frustration on this issue from PB residents and businesses,” Gallagher said. “Not a permanent ban. It’s a moratorium until we work out how to do it safely and responsibly. In my personal opinion, the City should draft an RFP (request for proposals) and solicit bids to operate as we do with other public utilities.”

Added Gallagher: “The City drafts a contract with terms that fit our needs and companies agree to those terms and, if they fail to comply, they lose the contract. What’s so hard about that?”

In response to Bry’s call for a scooter “moratorium,” and some residents wanting them banned, City press secretary Christina Di Leva Chadwick said, “We believe the new scooter regulations allow the industry to evolve responsibly and gives the City the power to hold operators accountable by revoking permits for those that don’t follow the rules.

“Given these regulations have been in place for only several weeks, additional time is necessary to determine if the laws in place are having the desired effect,” Di Leva Chadwick said. “The City continues to stress the need for maximum regulatory compliance, including geofencing, speed limits and staging.”

Concerning alleged non-compliance of permit conditions by some scooter companies, Di Leva Chadwick said: “The City is actively monitoring operators to ensure maximum compliance of the law. While several operators have taken proactive steps to get into compliance following receipt of a notice of violation, the City has found, through field testing and evaluation, that one or more operators are still not in compliance. The City is now moving forward with a permit revocation process for one operator, and a notice of violation has been levied on a fifth operator.”

Concerning problems/complaints the mayor’s office is getting about scooters these days, Di Leva Chadwick replied, “Geofencing, corral staging and user-compliance issues such as speed limits, double riding and other existing street laws."

Regarding the Pacific Beach resident who has started an online petition drive calling for scooters to be banned all together, Di Leva Chadwick said: “Mayor Faulconer has previously supported, and continues to support, a scooter ban on the boardwalk. Unfortunately, the City Council did not see the need for such a measure and voted it down more than a year ago. The mayor welcomes the City Council’s reconsideration of a boardwalk ban at any time.”

Comments-icon Post a Comment
August 10, 2019
People are so stubborn and resistant to change. It’s like the automobile got invented and 20% of the people are pissed because the cars are scaring their horses and just go “too fast”.

On demand, Any point to any point transportation, is revolutionary. The same way Uber opened up commerce as people could safely and inexpensively venture out and also cut down drunk driving, the scooters in their original form got people out of cars (and Uber’s), which cuts traffic and parking and gets people walking instead of driving everywhere (which is the butt of jokes about Californians).

Point blank, the “quality of life” of living at the beach skyrocketed for 80% of the population & for tourists (which greatly support the economy and business) with the introduction of scooters. But a vocal minority of curmudgeons cry “I hate change” and take efforts to kill it. So they reduce the speed to 8mph (which is stupidly slow - why not like a more reasonable 12mph) and then destroy the any point to any point part of it with corals and no parking areas with no way to know where they are or aren’t (and in essence kill the entire convenience of the concept). So scooters are dead already with these moronic regulations, so they’ll disappear on their own because they are unusable now anyways. So the whining 20% or maybe 5% kill the future, and kill progress in transportation. Because bumper to bumper traffic and no parking and pollution and auto deaths provide such a great quality of life already. What a shortsighted joke.

A progressive, forward looking city, one that will thrive in the coming future, not languish as the world changes around it and leaves it behind, would have done something more like this...

Set a sensible speed geofence like 12mph. Ban all scooters except for one company that wins a bid with the city - any other scooter found gets immediately pulled and thrown away like garbage on the street. Then the select scooter company has to brand with the city in mind and price to allow for job creation of local “repositioners” to clear scooters left in irresponsible places. So users pay $.20/ minute instead of $.15 and the “trash” problem of scooters thrown everywhere is addressed. And the city heavily taxes the scooter activity, maybe $.05/minute to create a fund to add bike lanes everywhere to prepared for the coming change of transportation to electric scooters and bikes, which will greatly alleviate car congestion, parking problems, and pollution.
Dave Fontaine
August 12, 2019
How does a nuicence like these scooters help the environment? Many people just use them for "fun" at the beach. At least 50% under 16 and unlicensed. 0% wearing helmets.

I've seen at least 1 to 3 accidents a day. Several involving head trauma and ambulances. The high-speeds, (and dangerous at low too)The upright posture of the rider, position of the hands, electric torque and small wheels on irregular surfaces. Do the Physics or as a ER Doctor.

They are made in China and have batteries. Not very environmental The average life of one these I've been told is under 2 month. I believe that. People are actively destroying them to regain our sidewalks, driveways and everywhere they are littered.

They have motors. The sidewalks and boardwalks are not where they belong. The Laws are written as "engines" not motors. It was an oversight that I hope is remedied soon.

Add to many riding are overweight. They should be looking for solutions to their problem, not an easy ride. Buy a Bike.
Elfi Segal
August 09, 2019
Where can I get a petition ? I will gladly walk my neighborhood to get signatures.
bill zent
August 09, 2019
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