Less than one month after the City of San Diego rolled out new electric scooter regulations, District 1 City Council member Barbara Bry called for a citywide moratorium on electric scooters, via a memo from her office issued July 26 “until we demonstrate that we can develop a fiscally responsible, well-thought-out plan that ensures public and environmental safety.”
New citywide regulations went into effect July 1 after the City Council passed an ordinance, but Bry’s memo indicates the rules are not being followed.
Bry’s memo reads, in part: “San Diegans deserve a safe, unobstructed and accessible public right-of-way. Electric scooters have posed challenge after challenge on our City sidewalks, boardwalks and pedestrian walking areas.
“Emergency rooms and urgent care centers are filling up with severe injuries. City resources are being wasted to collect and store inappropriately parked devices, and we don’t even know if the fines cover our costs. In addition, private companies are picking up scooters left on private property. Thousands are piling up in at least one scooter graveyard, posing a long-term environmental hazard. Enough is enough — scooter companies have had their opportunity.”
Bry later told La Jolla Light the memo now goes to the Mayor’s office.
“In an ideal world, the Mayor would terminate our agreement with scooter companies because they have broken the rules of the ordinance we passed,” she said. “Then we would draft a Request for Proposal (RFP) and select a few companies and limit the number that would operate in our City. This is what other cities have done. We clearly have too many operating in our City, the companies are fighting for market share and the public is the loser. This is a public safety hazard for the users, for pedestrians and for motorists.”
However, she said she has “no idea” when to expect a response from the Mayor’s office.
“Something has to be done because our current approach is not working,” Bry said, adding that enforcement of the new rules would be handled in the RFP.
“We have a limited number of policy officers and they are too precious to be used for enforcement regulations,” she said. “We need to have a smaller number of scooter companies operating in the City, so we have the bandwidth for proper enforcement.”
After the introduction of electric scooters more than a year ago, local community groups have weighed in, discussed, and voted on potential solutions.
In April 2018, The La Jolla Shores Association sought to ban dockless bicycles and scooters throughout La Jolla Shores, and sent a letter to Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Bry asking for the prohibition.
The next month, Bry unsuccessfully sought a ban on scooters on boardwalks in La Jolla Shores, Pacific Beach and Mission Beach. The vote failed 6-3 at the full City Council.
“Now is the time for sensible and fair regulations that take into consideration the safety of boardwalk patrons, as well as the electric-scooter riders,” she said at the time, and that the vote “does not signal the end to this issue.”