City Council officially bans scooters on boardwalks
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 01/28/20 - 06:00 PM | 10251 views | 1 1 comments | 52 52 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Scooter riders on the Mission Beach boardwalk. / Photo by Thomas Melville
Scooter riders on the Mission Beach boardwalk. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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The City Council voted 5-4 Jan. 28 to endorse a ban on motorized vehicles, including electric scooters, on Mission Beach, Pacific Beach and La Jolla Shores boardwalks, and along Mission Bay Park bayside path, while reducing the scooter geofencing speed limit from 8 to 3 mph in congested areas. 

The second reading of the new amended City ordinance banning scooters and other electric devices from boardwalks was moved by Councilmember Barbara Bry of District 1 and seconded by District 1 Councilmember Dr. Jennifer Campbell. They were joined by Monica Montgomery of District 4, Mark Kersey of District 5 and Vivian Moreno of District 8 in voting for a boardwalk ban.

Once again opposing the boardwalk prohibition were Scott Sherman of District 7, Council President Georgette Gomez of District 9, Chris Ward of District 3 and Chris Cate of District 6.

According to the City Clerk’s office, ordinances typically take effect and are in force on the 30th day from and after its final passage. This is subject to the mayor’s veto. The date the mayor signs the ordinance will be the final passage and the ban will go into effect 30 days from then.

Tim Harter representing Bird micro-mobility company spoke out against the boardwalk ban. He warned that “enforcement has become so strict that, if scooters would no longer be allowed on the boardwalks, it will push them off into faster traffic on Mission Boulevard traveling up to 35 mph, which isn’t safe. The ban does not make policy sense. It ignores data from riders reporting they’re not feeling safe riding on the street.”

Added Harter: “The new 3 mph speed limit will create an ‘invisible wall’ for scooter riders. Say no to this until more data can be collected.”

Community activist Scott Chipman of PB noted banning scooters on boardwalks “is a public safety issue.” Chipman also disputed micro mobility’s contention that scooters are for “last-mile commuting.”

“Virtually no one rides them for the last-mile of a commute,” argued Chipman. “They are play equipment on the boardwalk, which has become their unsafe playground.”

“Electric vehicles are taking over the boardwalk and nobody feels safe,” testified Mission Beach Town Council president Matt Gardner.

In making her motion, Bry noted the City’s regional bicycle map excludes motorized vehicles in Class 1 bike paths. “The boardwalks are class 1 bike paths,” she pointed out.

Class 1 bike paths are paved rights-of-way completely separated from streets and are typically shared with pedestrians.

“I have gone on record supporting prohibition of use of motor vehicles, both personal and rentals, on boardwalks,” said Campbell. “Public safety is our number one responsibility.”

Non-motorized vehicles on the boardwalk would be unaffected by the new ordinance. The only exceptions to the boardwalk ban would be those electric vehicles used by the disabled.

Lime micro-mobility company announced, following the City Council’s 5-4 vote to ban electric vehicles on boardwalks in December, that it would be “pulling its operations out of the San Diego market.”

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