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Mayor Announces Regulatory Proposal For Dockless Scooters And Bikes

Dockless scooters are parked by Horton Plaza, downtown, May 30, 2018.

Credit: Renata L. Brandão

Above: Dockless scooters are parked by Horton Plaza, downtown, May 30, 2018.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer released a proposal Thursday to regulate the use of dockless electric scooters and bicycles around the city.

The proposed regulations would require dockless scooter companies like Bird and Lime to limit scooter speeds in high-traffic areas and provide monthly data reports to city officials on maintenance, trip and parking information and reported incidents and hazards.

Riders would no longer be able to park scooters and bicycles in hospital and school zones, beach area boardwalks, the perimeter of Petco Park and the north and south legs of the Embarcadero. Riders would also only be able to park scooters in groups of four, with at least 40 feet between groups.

RELATED: Company Goes After Dockless Scooters Parked On Private Property

Scooter speeds, currently a maximum of 15 mph, would be slowed to 8 mph in places like Spanish Landing, Petco Park and Balboa Park and 3 mph on the Embarcadero and the Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade. Scooter companies would use geofencing technology to limit parking abilities and speeds in specific areas, technology that Bird already uses in areas like the Santa Monica Beach Bike Path.

The city would also require scooter companies to apply for a six-month permit and pay $150 per scooter or bike each year. The permits could only be amended or renewed in January or June.

"We welcome more mobility options and these new regulations take a common-sense approach that will allow this emerging market to grow in a responsible way," Faulconer said. "Scooters and e-bikes are providing an opportunity for thousands of people to get around town without a car, creating less traffic and cutting greenhouse gas emissions."

Faulconer proposed a regulatory framework for dockless scooters in October, which included many similar requirements such as operational permits and speed reductions in high-traffic areas. The City Council's Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee approved the framework concept that same month and directed city staff to draft a full proposal.

RELATED: San Diego Kicks Off Construction Of Downtown Bike Network

Public transportation advocate Colin Parent, the executive director of Circulate San Diego, said he favors the laundry list of regulations to the dockless scooter market.

"The city of San Diego is taking a smart approach to dockless mobility," Parent said. "San Diego is ensuring access to new transportation choices, while balancing the needs of other users of the public right-of-way."

The council's Active Transportation and Infrastructure Committee expects to hear the proposal on Feb. 20.

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