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Electric Scooter Company Uses Technology To Go After Dangerous Riders

Three people stand by Bird electric scooters near Civic Center Plaza downtown...

Credit: Matt Hoffman/KPBS

Above: Three people stand by Bird electric scooters near Civic Center Plaza downtown, Sept. 18, 2018.

You see them speeding around sidewalks, but electric scooters are not supposed to be there. Riders are supposed to wear helmets too, but most people in San Diego do not.

To go after unsafe riders, scooter company Bird is partnering with the city of San Diego to share data about riding habits. Bird said people can also start reporting dangerous riders using their app.

"Flag riders who violate our safe riding policies," said Bird's Government Relations Manager Lys Mendez. "Allow us to remind those riders to follow all of the rules of the road. And will allow us to take any further actions necessary against repeat offenders including removing them from the platform."

RELATED: Electric Scooters Are Spreading To San Diego College Campuses

San Diego Councilmember Chris Ward, who represents downtown where a large number of scooters are, said technology is key to making the scooters safer for everyone.

"We’re trying to work with the companies," Ward said. "So if we had an area like say the boardwalk where the maximum speed for bikes is 8 mph. When a scooter enters that area, and it’s already being tracked by GPS can the scooter maximum speed lower to 8 m? That would be a great outcome and this is where technology can provide solutions."

Ward also mentioned the idea of technology that can sense when someone rides somewhere they are not supposed to.

"Can we make sure that if you’re going down a sidewalk and you’re going bump bump bump because you hit everything on the sidewalk — that the scooter knows you’re on a sidewalk and really compels you get off the sidewalk," Ward said.

Aside from technology, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is looking at other ways to address scooters. A spokesman said the mayor’s office is working with the city attorney and council members to come up with rules that further promote safety and rider responsibility.

Video by Matt Bowler

Bird, a dockless scooter company, said they will be sharing rider data with the city of San Diego in an effort to improve scooter safety.

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