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New Electric Bike/Scooter Rules for San Diego

Dockless scooters
A couple rides a Bird Scooter along the boardwalk in PB.
(K.C. Alfred / K.C. Alfred/ San Diego Union-Tribune)

EDITOR’S NOTEBOOK:

Back from a recent visit to Pasedena (where I could perambulate the pavement painlessly as electric scooters are explicitly prohibited), I read that the San Diego City Council passed some rules to regulate their use here. While stopping short of banning them from our busy beach boardwalks, these decrees are a good start:

Speed and parking restrictions: Companies will be required to limit vehicle speeds, using geo-fencing technology, in designated zones:

• Areas with a speed limit of 8 mph that include the walkways within Balboa Park , Liberty Station and Spanish Landing Park & Trail;

• Areas with a speed limit of 8 mph, where a device cannot be locked and parked, include the walkway on Ocean Front Walk in Mission Beach through Ocean Boulevard in Pacific Beach, Mission Bay Walk along the west side of Mission Bay Park and the walkway on the east side of the park. Restrictions also apply to the boardwalk from Avenida De La Playa along La Jolla Shores and the public right-of-way within Petco Ballpark Zone;

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• Areas with a speed limit of 3 mph, where a device cannot be locked and parked, include Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade, the pedestrian walks along North and South Embarcedero and West Date Street between India and Columbia streets.

Education: Companies are required to force riders to scroll through and manually acknowledge local and state vehicle laws before each ride. All motorized scooters will include a label that reads: “Riding on sidewalks is prohibited.”

Impounding: Companies must retrieve their vehicles from City property within three hours of being notified that devices are inoperable or improperly parked. Vehicles not picked up within the time frame can be impounded at the expense of $65 per device and $1 a day. The City Manager can suspend a company’s right to operate for six months or more, based on violations of any rules. Residents can report violations using the City’s “Get It Done” app at sandiego.gov/get-it-done

Fees: Companies are required to secure a 6-month permit at a cost of $5,141 in January and July, as well as pay $150 per device annually. Operators can adjust the size of their fleets when they renew permits. Once a year, they can apply for an event permit to increase the size of their fleets up to 20 percent for 10 days. Operators can qualify for a $15 reduction in the vehicle fee, at the discretion of the City Manager, by implementing programs for low-income riders.

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Legal indemnification: Companies must shield the City from any liability, claims and damage related to their business. Operators will be required to hold commercial general liability insurance of $2 million per occurrence and $4 million aggregate. Each operator will also carry a $4 million umbrella policy.

Data sharing: Companies must share anonymized data — fleet sizes, how often devices are used, trips and parking locations, accidents and maintenance. The City Manager can also require operators to conduct user surveys and provide data in real time. (See related story, “PB News Briefs: City Council passes dockless scooter rules”.)


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