SAN DIEGO — The San Diego City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to adopt new regulations for dockless electric scooters, bicycles and the companies that own them.
The package of regulations will limit the speed of dockless scooters from 15 mph to 8 mph in high-traffic areas like Spanish landing and near Petco park, and as low as 3 mph along the Embarcadero, the Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade and the boardwalk in Mission and Pacific Beach.
Scooter companies like Bird, Lime and Razor will be required to use geofencing technology on their scooters to limit speeds and parking abilities in designated areas around the city. Bird already uses geofencing to reduce scooter speeds in areas like the Santa Monica Beach Bike Path.
Scooter riders will be banned from parking the devices near hospitals, schools, beach area boardwalks, the Petco Park perimeter and the north and south legs of the Embarcadero. The city also plans to designate scooter parking zones along city streets to decrease the number of scooters parked on sidewalks. In downtown, scooter riders and companies will only be able to park devices in groups of four, with at least 40 feet between groups.
The city will also require that scooter companies pay $5,000 every six months for an operational permit and pay $150 per scooter or bike each year to continue operating in San Diego. Companies can renew permits in January or June, at which time they could negotiate operating terms like fleet size, which they are not currently required to report to the city.
The council’s Active Transportation and Infrastructure Committee unanimously approved the package in February and requested that it return to the committee within six months of its implementation for further review and to ensure the city is keeping pace with the evolution of technologies like geofencing.