SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Three city supervisors have introduced a new resolution that focuses on powered scooter safety.
In 2018 San Francisco and many major U.S. cities saw the implementation of rideshare scooters from companies like Bird and Lime. Sidewalks were often littered with discarded scooters waiting for pickup, and blocking the way for travelers, particularly those in wheelchairs who need a clear path.
Supervisors Peskin, Walton, and Chan have introduced the resolution which would empower SFMTA to issue citations for those who don’t follow safety rules including activities like double-riding, riding on sidewalks, and parking violations. The resolution also mandates an immediate cease of operations for any device that is not built with a city-approved, anti-sidewalk geofencing technology which would prevent the scooter from driving on sidewalks.
In May of 2018 the Board of Supervisors adopted Resolution No. 180501-073 which established a pilot Powered Scooter Share Program. This program required that any company hoping to use powered scooters in the city would need to receive a permit from the Director of Transportation in order to operate. At this time, the program allows three different companies to operate over 4,000 scooters across San Francisco.
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Some complaints listed in the resolution include that scooters are often deployed in highly-populated tourist areas like the Embarcadero and Fisherman’s Wharf where riders here often ride illegally on the sidewalks, causing a danger to pedestrians. Some scooters have even been thrown into the San Francisco Bay before being retrieved at the cost of the Port.
From July 2021 to Sept. 2022, SFMTA issued over 12,000 citations for improperly parked scooters. Bird paid $387,200, Lime paid $577,800, and Spin paid $390,850 in fines during that time period. Supervisors Peskin, Walton, and Chan argue that though the fines have been high, they are not effective, as companies have still been slow to implement anti-sidewalk geofencing technology in San Francisco.
If the resolution is passed, Supervisors Peskin, Walton, and Chan hope to see 50% of the burden of the citations passed on to the rider who was using the scooter at the time of the offense. The Supervisors argue that this would encourage a swifter change in consumer behavior.