Police say scooter ticketing crackdown is coming

SAN DIEGO -- Police say they're cracking down on scooter safety in San Diego, where the electric transportation is widely available for rent through apps like Bird, and the safety rules seemingly ignored by most users.

FOX 5 hit the streets Wednesday to talk to riders -- including a pair of young teens -- spotted riding the scooters without helmets. The San Diego Police Department says these rule-breakers can and will be ticketed as part of a general increase in the number of citations issued to riders breaking key traffic laws.

SDPD will hold a news conference Thursday to discuss more details about scooter laws, tickets and fines. The crackdown announcement comes on the heels of a serious accident involving a rider in the Hillcrest area earlier this week.

It happened in the 1100 block of Washington Street around 8:30 Monday night. Police say the 41-year-old man riding the scooter was crossing Washington Street when a Toyota Prius exiting State Route 163 hit him. The rider was taken to a hospital with serious injuries that were not expected to be life-threatening. The driver of the Prius was not injured and the San Diego Police Department's Traffic Division is investigating the crash.

Bird scooters, which reach speeds of 15 mph, say in their app that riders are required to wear helmets, have a driver's license, be 18 or older, and obey all other local traffic rules. You can read more about California's motorized scooter laws -- including a ban on riding the vehicles on sidewalks -- here.