Grand Jury report responds to concerns about electric scooters

SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego County Grand Jury released a report Thursday listing recommendations in response to an influx in electric scooters in San Diego.

The report recorded 44 collisions and 13 serious injuries in 2018. The Grand Jury pointed to a lax regulator system that lets the companies leave the safety and operational liability in the hands of the operators.

The City of San Diego has already paid out $1.7 million in damages caused by scooter accidents.

The city will impose new regulations on July 1. Key components of the regulations include:

  • Speed Limits: In specific geofenced areas, operators will slow scooters to 8 mph. Three of the geofenced areas are pedestrian-only and operators will slow scooters to 3 mph with a push message notifying riders to leave that area.
    • Geofencing will be in effect for beach-area boardwalks, Balboa Park, NTC Park, Mission Bay Park, Petco Park and the pedestrian-only locations, including North/South Embarcadero, MLK Jr. Promenade, and La Piazza della Famiglia.
  • Staging: Operators will no longer be able to stage scooters and e-bikes on sidewalks in Downtown.
    • The City has identified – and is currently installing – 330 on-street dockless parking corrals throughout Downtown where staging is allowed.
    • In the beach areas, operators are only permitted to stage in groups of up to four, with 40 feet in between each group. The City will identify corral locations in the beach areas and, once installed, will require their use.
    • The City also will conduct an evaluation of locations throughout San Diego where designated parking corrals would be beneficial and, working with the City Council and communities, install more.
  • Rider parking: Operators will prohibit riders from ending a ride in specific geofenced areas, including beach area boardwalks.
  • Education: Consistent messages about local and state laws in smartphone applications will be required. As will on-device labeling about age requirements and how riding on the sidewalk is illegal.
  • Per Device Fee: A per device fee of $150 annually will be assessed. A reduction of $15 per device will be offered for operators offering a qualified equity program.
    • Equity programs may include discounts, equitable distribution, credit-card free unlock or mobile-device free unlock.
  • Data Sharing: A variety of data will be shared about ridership, parking, paths of travel and more to assist the City in transportation planning, Climate Action Plan reporting and enforcement.
  • Indemnification/Insurance: Operators will be required to indemnify the City from liability and to hold a $2 million per occurrence, $4 million aggregate and $4 million umbrella insurance policy.
  • Performance Bond: Each operator will be required to pay a “Safety Deposit” – $65 for each device in fleet – to be held in the event the company leaves the market without its devices.
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