San Diego Group Brings Scooter Concerns To City Hall

It's been almost a year since dockless scooters have been introduced in San Diego, and a group is heading to City Hall Wednesday in hopes Mayor Faulconer will start to crack down on illegal riders. 


Dr. Jonathan Freeman created "Safe Walkways," and says the group isn't trying to ban scooters at all, but want riders to follow the rules, and scooter companies to enforce those rules. 

In the seven-page proposal, the group says it wants riders to stay off the sidewalk, a law that's already in place in California, but rarely enforced. In addition, it wants scooter companies to allow people to send them a picture or report of an illegal rider's scooter, and have the company close the account of the rider.

Photo Credit: Getty Images 


The full proposal:

THE SAFE WALKWAYS NOW (NOT ON WALKWAYS) CAMPAIGN

Dear Neighbor,

Please join our NOW campaign to get scooters off our sidewalks. All you need to do is phone the Mayor’s Office, or, write and copy members of City Council. We’ll help you with both.

Since February, Motorized Scooters have created fear in places people used to feel safe walking and created obstructions and hazards on walkways. Safe Walkways is a group that is campaigning for solutions to the problems created by motorized scooters for people who want to enjoy the simple and healthy pleasure of walking. 

In October, the Mayor proposed that San Diego offers permits to scooter rental companies, if they sign a revocable agreement with certain conditions. If the conditions aren’t met then the permit is revoked and the company cannot do business in our city. We like that approach. It is one taken by other cities, e.g. San Francisco.

But the requirements that the Mayor currently proposes will not get scooters off our walkways. They need to be improved and we need your help to convince him to do that.

Currently the Mayor’s proposals only “slow” scooters to 8mph on a few, specified, “highpedestrian traffic areas”. Nor do they stop scooters being parked on our sidewalks, despite this being illegal on any sidewalk in San Diego. Thus, the Mayor’s proposals still leave the threats to pedestrian safety from scooters driven and parked on our sidewalks. Motorized vehicles at any speed must not be mixed with people walking and the City must require the scooter rental companies to comply with the law and stop them from being driven and parked on our walkways.  

Using the SDPD to do this doesn’t work. They have issued citations each month but are understaffed and overwhelmed and have more serious crimes to deal with. But it can be done via the proposed permitting agreement. We get scooters off our walkways, without using the SDPD or costing the City a cent if the agreement’s terms include a public reporting system and the requirement that the rental company must permanently close the account of non-compliant scooter drivers, which is what we propose.

Sidewalks must not be turned into parking lots for commercial rental companies. To prevent scooter parking or placement on sidewalks, the terms of the agreement must require the companies to obey the law, (our Municipal Code currently makes this illegal)  AND, because the agreement is revocable, the City must have the will to enforce it if its terms are broken.  

To protect injured pedestrians and property owners the companies and drivers should be required to carry third party liability insurance. 

To prevent minors from driving scooters the companies must require evidence of a user’s driver’s license, and require that only one license be used per vehicle.

The City should revoke the permit if the companies break the agreement, and the City should contract a towing company to remove the scooters of any company operating without a permit or breaking the law. 

Our proposals:

- Do not create additional cost to the City.
- Do not require additional police resources.
- Allow scooters drivers the freedom to use another company.
- Will change behavior because if the driver continues to drive on walkways they will not find a scooter company available to rent from. 

Changing behavior is essentially what we want: motorized scooters Not On Walkways.

Please call or write to Mayor Faulconer now. We’ve provided the contact information and some points you might like to use as well as the full text of our proposals below.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Freeman PhD
Janet Rogers

Safe Walkways: To promote and protect the right of people to walk in safety

THE ESSENTIAL POINTS:

TO OBTAIN A PERMIT THE CITY SHOULD REQUIRE THE SCOOTER COMPANIES TO:

OBEY THE LAW AND NOT PARK OR OPERATE SCOOTERS ON SIDEWALKS.

PERMANENTLY CANCEL THE ACCOUNT OF VEHICLE DRIVERS WHO BREAK THE LAW

CARRY THIRD PARTY LIABILITY INSURANCE, EQUIVALENT TO STATUARY AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE, AND PROVIDE THIS INSURANCE TO THE RENTER.

PREVENT ONE LICENSE FROM RENTING MULTIPLE VEHICLES SIMULTANEOUSLY.

AND THE TERMS OF THE AGREEMENT MUST BE ENFORCED BY REVOKING THE PERMIT OF A COMPANY THAT DOES NOT ABIDE BY ITS TERMS.

PHONING (If you phone please send us an email to let us know you did so)

Office of the Mayor: (619) 236-6330

Here are a couple of versions of talking points you might want to make.

VERSION 1 

“I support the idea that scooter rental companies must sign an agreement to get a revocable permit to operate in San Diego, but the agreement must get motorized scooters off our walkways.  Motorized Vehicles must park and operate in the road, not anywhere people walk.  If a person drives a scooter illegally, I want to be able to report this to the company and they must close the driver’s account.

Do not turn our sidewalks into parking lots. It is never safe to mix pedestrians and motor vehicles. Motorized scooters should never be allowed in pedestrian areas. If scooter drivers break the law, require the companies to permanently cancel the renter’s account.

I want the City to require scooter companies to purchase Third Party Liability insurance so that if pedestrians are injured or property is damaged the companies and drivers will help pay for the injuries and damage caused and I support the Safe Walkways proposals.”

VERSION 2 

“I support the idea that scooter rental companies must sign an agreement to get a revocable permit to operate in San Diego, but Motorized Vehicles must park and operate in the road not the sidewalk.  

Do not turn our sidewalks into parking lots. It is illegal to park or drive motor vehicles on sidewalks. If scooter drivers break the law, require the companies to permanently cancel the renter’s account.

It is never safe to mix pedestrians and motor vehicles. No scooters should be allowed in pedestrian areas. Do not allow any motor vehicle to drive on pedestrian walkways, such as sidewalks, the Embarcadero, the Promenade or Boardwalks. Motorized vehicles at any speed are a danger to pedestrians.  

I want the City to require scooter companies to purchase Third Party Liability insurance so that if pedestrians are injured or property is damaged the companies and drivers will help pay for the injuries and damage caused. These scooters are not bicycles. I support the Safe Walkways proposals.””

EMAILING: If you use email, please copy the other members of Council, and us so we know how many people have written.

The Mayor: Kevinfaulconer@sandiego.gov

Members of Council in order of district:

1. Barbara Bry: BarbaraBry@sandiego.gov
2. Jennifer Campbell: JenniferCampbell@sandiego.gov
3. Chris Ward: Christopherward@sandiego.gov
4. Monica Montgomery: Monicamontgomery@sandiego.gov
5. Mark Kersey: Markkersey@sandiego.gov
6. Chris Cate: Chriscate@sandiego.gov
7. Scott Sherman: Scottsherman@sandiego.gov
8. Vivian Moreno: Vivianmoreno@sandiego.gov
9 Georgette Gomez: Georgettegomez@sandiego.gov

Safe Walkways: SafeWalkwaysSD@Gmail.com

DRAFT FOR LETTER OR EMAIL (Send a copy to the Mayor, your Council member and us). 

“Mayor Faulconer,
Subject: Proposed Motorized Scooter Permitting Agreement

 I am a resident of San Diego and a registered voter.

I approve the principle of the City requiring motorized scooter rental companies to sign a permitting agreement to operate in San Diego but your proposals don’t protect pedestrians. We need something better and I support the Safe Walkways proposals. Motorized scooters are potentially lethal for pedestrians at any speed and must park and operate in the roads, not on sidewalks.   

First, the City must require the scooter companies to make motorized scooters park on the road like every other motor vehicle.  Do not turn our sidewalks into parking lots for motorized vehicles. The City’s Municipal Code, [§86.0137; §54.0105; § 54.0110; §54.0201] and the State Vehicle Code [22500(f)], both make it illegal to park motorize scooters on sidewalks.  By allowing motorized scooters to be parked on sidewalks, instead of in the streets roads, the City gives the impression to scooter drivers that scooters may both be parked and driven on sidewalks, which is also illegal [21235(g)]. 

Second, It is never safe to mix pedestrians and motorized vehicles at any speed. Pedestrian walkways are for people to walk in and they are entitled to a reasonable expectation of safety when they do so; roads are for motorized vehicles. The City must require the scooter rental companies to keep motorized scooters off all pedestrian walkways, which includes sidewalks, the Promenade, the Embarcadero and Boardwalks. No motorized scooters should be allowed to go 8 mph in pedestrian areas, since that speed is still much faster than people walk. Since many motorized scooter drivers are already afraid to ride in the roads, the slower speed will push more of them onto the sidewalks, endangering pedestrians and their pets.  So, if the companies can slow them to 8mph they can slow them to zero and that is what the City should require them to do. 

Third, I want the City to require scooter companies to purchase Third Party Liability Insurance for themselves and drivers to cover claims related to injured pedestrians and damaged property. Scooter drivers are required to have a driver's license. They can receive a DUI, points against their driving record and a felony conviction for a "Hit and Run" injury accident. Motorized scooters are not bicycles.  

Finally, I want the City to require that the scooter companies:

Prevent simultaneous multiple rentals on one license and,
Permanently cancel the account of any scooter driver who does not comply with the law.

(Add your additional information, concerns or stories) 

Sincerely,”

A COPY OF THE PROPOSALS WE HAVE SUBMITTED TO THE MAYOR ARE PROVIDED FOR YOUR INFORMATION ON THE FOLLOWING PAGES.

THE FOLLOWING IS PROVIDED FOR YOUR INFORMATION. IT HAS ALREADY BEEN SUBMITTED TO THE MAYOR AND YOU DO NOT NEED TO SEND IT AGAIN.

THE SAFE WALKWAYS PROPOSALS FOR TERMS TO BE INCLUDED IN THE CITY’S

PROPOSED REVOCABLE PERMITTING AGREEMENT GOVERNING MOTORIZED SCOOTER RENTAL COMPANIES SUBMITTED TO THE MAYOR OF SAN DIEGO ON JANUARY 2ND 2019.

The Mayor proposes that rental motorized vehicle companies sign a revocable permitting agreement setting out terms to be met. 

Failure to meet the terms must lead to permit revocation and loss of the company’s right to operate in San Diego. 

If the permit is revoked, the company shall remove their motorized vehicles, such as motorized scooters and motorized bicycles, or have them removed.

Placing motorized scooters on sidewalks contravenes multiple regulations and encourages users to drive on sidewalks. For pedestrian safety, motorized vehicles must not be placed on any walkways

We propose that the permitting agreement include the following requirements: 

ONE DRIVER’S LICENSE, ONE CONTRACT, ONE MOTORIZED VEHICLE.

Companies shall require an image of a unique valid driver’s license to open a user account. 

Only one account shall be associated with a unique driver’s license. The date of birth on the license shall be used to verify the user is at least eighteen, in order to sign a contract. 

Companies shall not allow multiple motorized vehicles to be unlocked/rented using the same drivers license at the same time.

In order to unlock a scooter, renters shall acknowledge the following: 

i. “I understand that allowing another person to ride a motorized vehicle using my account and drivers license is illegal. ii. I understand that using my account and driver’s license to enable an underage person to drive a motorized vehicle is illegal and I could be charged with the crime of “child endangerment” and receive a felony conviction” California Penal Code 273a.

iii. I understand that allowing an underage person to stand on the platform of a motorized scooter or be carried while it is in motion is illegal and I could be charged with the crime of “child endangerment” and receive a felony conviction“ California Penal Code 273a.

INDEMNIFICATION OF PEDESTRIANS AND PROPERTY OWNERS.

The company shall carry third party liability insurance, equivalent to State automobile requirements.

The company shall carry liability insurance for renters of its vehicles. 

PLACE MOTORIZED VEHICLES ONLY IN THE ROAD.

The company shall not place its vehicles on sidewalks or other walkways or allow them to be parked there.

USE MOTORIZED VEHICLES ONLY IN THE ROAD OR BIKE LANE.

The company shall inform renters not to operate its vehicles on sidewalks or any of the following:

Boardwalks in Mission Beach, Pacific Beach and La Jolla beach areas
Downtown Embarcadero
Promenade behind the San Diego Convention Center
Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade Downtown
Balboa Park
NTC Park
Mission Bay Park

The company shall use technology, as soon as it is available, to reduce its vehicles’ speed to zero on all walkways.

REVOCATION OF PERMIT AND CLOSURE OF USER ACCOUNT. 

The company shall lose its permit if it fails to obey State or City laws.

The company shall permanently close the account of any user who fails to obey State or City laws while using its vehicle. 

REPORTING NON-COMPLIANT USE OF MOTORIZED VEHICLES TO THE COMPANY WITH VERIFICATION BY THE CITY.

The company shall display a unique identifier, visible at a distance in daylight and after dark, on each of its vehicles.

The company shall provide a means for images showing misuse or misplacement of a uniquely identifiable vehicle to be reported immediately by the public to the company, with simultaneous notification sent to the City for verification.

Using this public reporting system, the company shall permanently close within 24 hours of receipt of the report the account of any user found to have failed to obey State or City laws while using its vehicle.

Each month the company shall report to the City the number of reports received and accounts closed.

COMPANIES TO COOPERATE WITH POLICE IN CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS.

In the event of a criminal investigation, such as a "Hit and Run" accident, the company agrees to provide contact information of the renter of its vehicle to the police, without a search warrant.

Jonathan Freeman PhD and Janet Rogers

Safe Walkways: to promote and protect the right of people to walk in safety

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