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San Diego city attorney files suit against scooter companies

The city of San Diego wants electric scooter companies to take responsibility for scooters that are left scattered across sidewalks and in harm's way to pedestrians.

Last week, City Attorney Mara Elliott filed a lawsuit against those companies.

Little Italy resident Jared Granoff uses scooters to get around town. He said he hasn't had issues with scooters laying around where he lives, but can definitely see the issues that arise with them as he pointed toward a scooter left in the middle of a sidewalk downtown.

“I think if you have scooters like that one just in the middle of the sidewalk there’s definitely people that can trip over them or fall,” he said.

Those falls can result in lawsuits against the city of San Diego.

Scooter companies who have operating agreements with the city are required to compensate the city against any damages and cover litigation costs in relation to the dockless scooters.

But Elliott said companies like Bird and Lyft are not protecting the city in those suits, so the city is suing.

“In exchange for using the City’s streets and sidewalks, the scooter companies agreed to defend and indemnify the city against liabilities that arise from their conduct," she said in a statement to KPBS. "Their practice of shifting their business costs to City taxpayers is unacceptable and will not be tolerated."