San Diego’s scooter debate finds a national spotlight

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SAN DIEGO -- With miles and miles of gorgeous coastline, San Diego is America’s Finest City. It’s a city people desire to live and vacation in. Just don’t mind the countless electric scooters.

That’s how an article in The New York Times is shedding light on what many say is a growing problem, adding there are just too many. Tourists aren’t turning a blind eye, either.

“There does seem like there's an awful lot. Wherever one walks, there seems to be a scooter,” tourist Lyn Greene told FOX 5.

The article that was published Wednesday morning noted how scooter companies moved into San Diego last year and, ever since, have taken over much of the area.

This is an issue residents and city officials are already aware of, but the New York Times' article paints the picture of just how bad the situation has gotten. “After reading that article and seeing the pictures, it made you think you’re coming to a jungle of these scooters everywhere. I really haven’t seen too many,” Lisa Derrett, a tourist from New York, said.

While some agree with Derrett and say the scooters offer an effective and affordable way to get around the city, many locals beg to differ. “I think it’s a fabulous way of transport, but I’m concerned of the amount of them,” Greene said.

Maya Rosas with Circulate San Diego, an organization that helps promote public transit and safer streets, said she read the article the day it was published. “The article made it seem like there’s total chaos with scooters, and I would disagree,” Rosas said. "You see the scooter corrals where they’ve been implemented, like downtown, and it’s really under control.”

Even so, dockless scooters have proven to be dangerous and deadly among riders across the county. In July, city officials took steps to make them safer by reducing speeds in high-traffic areas, like around Petco Park.

Companies like Bird, Lime and Razor are now required to use geofencing technology to regulate the scooters' speeds.

“San Diegans need options for how to get around, and it seems to be working,” Rosas said. "The scooters are in corrals in many places and I think there’s only room for improvement.”

According to Circulate San Diego and data from the San Diego Police Department, there were only four incident reports involving scooter crashes in the month of August.

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