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The new plan under consideration in San Francisco would require all of the transportation devices to have anti-sidewalk technology or to stop operation.
San Francisco officials want e-scooter users to slow their roll with a new resolution that prohibits the devices unless they have anti-sidewalk technology.
A recently introduced resolution would amend the permits granted by the city’s Municipal Transportation Agency to scooter-share companies to require geofencing technology that disables scooters from driving on sidewalks. Devices that lack the technology would have to stop operation.
San Diego enacted a similar rule earlier this year.
“This is all really straightforward—I just don’t want [the scooters] to be where they’re not supposed to be, which is on the sidewalks endangering and inconveniencing pedestrians,” San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin, the resolution’s main sponsor, told Route Fifty on Monday.
Riders first began zipping around San Francisco in 2018, when companies like Lime and Bird introduced shared e-scooters with no rules or regulations. Since then, city supervisors mandated that the companies obtain permits from the director of transportation, as well as develop and implement anti-sidewalk technology. And accidents have increased.
Motorized scooters can reach speeds of 15 miles per hour or more, which can seriously injure people in a collision. Nicole Bohn, who is the director of the mayor’s office of disability, was hospitalized for several months after an e-scooter collided with her wheelchair, according to the resolution.
From 2020 to 2021, the number of e-scooter accidents jumped 58%, according to TransBASE, an online city portal that tracks and analyzes transportation and public health data. In 2021, there were 21 severe injuries and one fatality reported.
“I’m tired of the accident reports. … It is time for our regulatory agency to regulate,” Peskin said.
Deploying that anti-sidewalk technology has been a slow process with little enforcement, the resolution says. Of the roughly 4,000 shared electric scooters, only a small percentage have geofencing technology.
“I’ve run out of patience,” Peskin said, adding that he thought all scooters in operation would be outfitted the geofencing technology by early this summer.
The San Francisco proposal also would give parking control officers the power to issue citations for safety violations including two passengers riding a single scooter, riding on sidewalks and improper parking.
Peskin said he would like to reform rider behavior, and the resolution includes passing citation fees to the user rather than just having the scooter-share companies cover those penal costs.
The resolution is scheduled to go before the Land Use and Transportation committee Oct. 3, according to Peskin’s office.
Molly Bolan is the assistant editor for Route Fifty.