Faulconer Proposes New Rules for Dockless Scooters
By Ana Gomez Salcido
With the goal of encouraging more transportation choices and improving the quality of life in neighborhoods, San Diego Mayor, Kevin L. Faulconer proposed a regulatory framework for dockless scooters to address safety concerns while allowing the nascent technology to continue operating in San Diego in a more responsible way.
“The rapid evolution of this industry is evidence of the popularity of dockless mobility devices as great options for folks who would like to leave their car at home,” Faulconer said. “As with many disruptive new technologies, there are issues that need to be addressed. First and foremost, public safety is our top priority and that will be reflected in these common-sense regulations.”
Faulconer’s proposed policies are focused on motorized scooters – the newest mobility option used across the city – but are designed to include other types of dockless devices as the industry continues to evolve. The regulatory framework will cover five primary areas – limiting maximum speed in designated zones, rider education, data sharing, operating fees, and legal indemnification for the City of San Diego.
“I’m pleased to have worked with Mayor Faulconer to develop important safety standards for the protection of scooter riders and pedestrians,” said City Councilmember Lorie Zapf. “My goal has always been to slow down the speed of the scooters and address safety concerns. With this proposal I feel confident that we will see changes for the better.”
The proposed rules include limiting speed by using geofencing technology. Operators will be required to slow their devices down to eight miles per hour in designated high-pedestrian traffic zones around the City, including boardwalks in Mission Beach, Pacific Beach and La Jolla beach areas, downtown Embarcadero, the promenade behind the San Diego Convention Center, among other areas.
The proposed rules also include that each operator will be required to indemnify the City from liability claims and each will need to hold a liability insurance policy.
In the rider education proposed rules it includes that prior to each use, companies will be required to educate riders of local and state vehicle and traffic codes and the cost of a citation for violating those laws. Each device also will need to be clearly labeled “Riding on sidewalks is prohibited.”
“Circulate San Diego supports thoughtful regulations in San Diego in order to ensure the continued availability and safe use of dockless scooters,” said Maya Rosas, policy director for Circulate San Diego. “The scooters are game changers that provide new mobility options, and with safe infrastructure they will help San Diego meet its Climate Action Plan and Vision Zero goals.”
The operators will also need to provide the City with detailed monthly reports that will be useful for Climate Action Plan monitoring and mobility planning, including but not limited to deployed device data, including fleet size and utilization rates, trip information, including starting and end points, routes, distances, ride duration, parking information, reported incidents and actions taken, reported obstructions/hazards and actions taken, and maintenance activities.
The City Council’s Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee held a hearing on the proposed framework on Oct. 24, before heading to the full council.