SAN DIEGO – A San Diego woman says she was barreling down hill in Ocean Beach Monday night at about 15 mph before she noticed the brakes on her rented electric scooter didn’t work.
“I tried (the hand brake) several times, and I panicked for sure,” Amanda Dolance told FOX 5.
Dolance said she rented a Bird scooter on Newport Boulevard in Ocean Beach. As she started down a steep hill near her home, she went to test out the brake, only to find it was unresponsive. Then she put her foot down in the road to try to stop it.
“As soon as I put it down, it just made me flip over,” she said.
Dolance said she landed face first in the street. As she pulled herself to her feet, she noticed that the brake line had been cut.
“What I saw was right up against the handlebar. It was a snip,” she said.
She went to the emergency room, where doctors sewed up her split chin with seven stitches. Her legs and hands were cut up and bruised.
She thinks someone cut the brake line. Others on social media around San Diego seemed to agree.
“Some are more available to cut, others are internal,” said Donny, an Pacific Beach resident who said he has seen someone cut the brakes. “Several people, usually middle age men,” he added.
Donny said he believes people may be vandalizing scooters because the don’t like all the scooters left around town.
“Individuals that are doing that might be trying to send a message to the scooter company, but the scooter company isn’t hearing the message,” said San Diego police Lt. Shawn Takeuchi . “It’s the person riding it who gets harmed, and it’s just not the right way to send the message.”
Takeuchi said no one has filed an official police report about sabotaged brakes on scooters. He said anyone who witnesses someone cutting a cable should make a citizen’s arrest.
“That doesn’t mean the citizen has to put handcuffs on,” he said. “It simply means that the citizen is willing to sign a piece of paper that says 'I am placing a citizen’s arrest for the violation of what I saw,' because that person is a witness to the crime.”
A spokesperson for Bird wrote FOX5 to say:
"Riders can test the brakes of any vehicle before taking a ride. Any damaged Birds can also be reported through our in-app feature, Community Mode. Reports of damaged vehicles will ensure those Birds are no longer available on the map for riding, and the Bird team in the area will be notified to remove the damaged vehicles from the road to be repaired."
The company says it has a street team that inspects scooters almost on a daily basis.