Friday, December 27, 2019
[San Diego County] San Diego bans e-scooters on some of the city's busy boardwalks
Blog note: this article references a recent grand jury report.
It was a 4-5 vote in favor of banning e-scooters along some of San Diego's busiest boardwalks. The City Council voted on Monday and the decision affects boardwalks from Mission Beach to La Jolla according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Before the ban, the public had increasing concerns about the safety of pedestrians because scooter riders were traveling at speeds that exceeded 8 mph, the legal limit on boardwalks.
City Councilwoman Barbara Bry supported the ban, saying it was a public safety issue.
Representing City Council District 2, Councilwoman Jennifer Campbell was in agreement with Bry. She related a personal experience. “I almost got run over on Easter Sunday,” she said. “That was the last time I tried to walk on the boardwalk.”
Supporters of the ban included Monica Montgomery, Vivian Moreno and Mark Kersey.
The four nay votes came from Council President Georgette Gómez, Chris Ward, Chris Cate and Scott Sherman.
"The City Council must rely on sound scientific data, not politics and emotion when considering good policy," Sherman said in an e-mail statement. "Scooter regulations were just approved barely six months ago and an initial review shows that they have improved safety and reduced accidents. Data driven policy, not a blanket ban is the right path forward.”
It might go without saying that scooter companies are also in opposition of the ban. They are now required to set a 3 mph speed limit on their devices within boardwalk areas. These changes do not affect motorized wheelchairs or other modes of transportation for disabled persons.
E-scooters will no longer be allowed to travel on boardwalks in Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, Mission Bay Park, Bayside Walk and La Jolla Shores.
Many residents showed up and voiced their opinion about the e-scooters saying that even though e-scooter companies such as Lime or Bird can limit speeds remotely, privately owned scooters are still unrestricted.
“This is not so much about shared mobility devices as it is the onslaught of personally owned, privately owned motorized devices,” said Paul Wilson. “They’re a hazard. Motorized vehicles don’t belong out there.”
Another issue was the lack of enforcement by police over laws regarding e-scooters.
“Even before this there are certain things that are prohibited that are still occurring because we’re not capable of enforcing,” said Council President Gómez.
Councilman Kersey was hesitant about supporting the ban at first but ended up voting in favor of it.
“It strikes me, as I weigh how I’m going to vote on this, that a lot of this, in fact almost all of it, comes down to enforcement,” he said. “We can have a ban but if it’s not enforced, people are going to listen to it.”
The City has yet to perform a state-required speed study for the area and therefore officers cannot clock users exceeding the 8 mph speed limit with radar guns, they have to go by what they see organically.
However, Bry thinks the ban is actually helpful to enforcers.
“The one thing about this ban is that it’s very clear cut,” she said. “The motorized device is either on the boardwalk or it’s not, so I think it actually makes it easier to enforce. We’re not in this murky area of how fast or slow is something going.”
Back in October, the City Council received a grand jury report that accused them of not doing enough to solve the accretion of e-scooters. The City Council's proposed response was that police officers were studying problematic areas at least once a week and illegally parked scooters were being impounded by the hundreds.
A package of new rules was put forth this past summer in regards to e-scooter regulations.
Recently San Diego Mayor Faulconer suggested the implementation of a midnight curfew for users to thwart drunk riding. The council has yet to take up that bid.
December 17, 2019
SDGLN (San Diego Gay & Lesbian News
By Timothy Rawles