Man sues City, scooter-maker over crash in Pacific Beach


The City of San Diego is facing a lawsuit filed by a disabled man who said he was injured when teenagers on an electric scooter lost control and caused a bicyclist to slam into his wheelchair on the boardwalk in Pacific Beach last July.

Plaintiff Richard Pearson is also suing the scooter manufacturer, Bird, over the incident during which, he said, he sustained bruising to his torso, ribs, left knee and left arm.

The suit was filed in San Diego Superior Court last week.

Pearson uses an electric wheelchair. He said in the suit he was riding on the right side of the boardwalk near Pacific Beach Drive when two girls, ages 12 and 14, on a scooter suddenly crossed over the center line of the boardwalk and into Pearson’s path. The scooter caused a cyclist to veer away and then crash into Pearson’s wheelchair. That’s when he got injured, the suit says.

The lawsuit largely blames Bird for not establishing “geofencing” — a technology that can limit the speed scooters travel at in designated areas — and not having a speedometer on the vehicle.

The suit contends the City is liable for creating a dangerous condition on public property. It blames the City for not having regulations in place that would require geofencing, speedometers and signs warning pedestrians that the boardwalk is also used by scooters, whose speed could not be monitored.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer has since proposed a number of rules that would regulate the scooter industry — including requiring geofencing in various areas, including the boardwalk where Pearson was hurt.

The City Attorney’s Office said it was reviewing the complaint. An inquiry to Bird did not get a response.

The proposed regulations by Faulconer would also require operators to indemnify the City from liability claims and carry insurance policies.