SAN DIEGO — Dockless scooters and bikes are being tossed in the ocean, and police say it has become an issue since they hit the streets of San Diego.
Norm Daniels, a local artist, said he was recently on his way to paint on Shelter Island when something caught his eye.
“Then I saw the pile of bikes. I couldn’t believe it so I stopped and went over and I thought, I’m going to get a photo of this because it’s kind of artistic in an odd sort of way,” Daniels said.
Daniels said it was apparent they had been in the water for quite some time.
“They were all encrusted with creatures and gunk,” Daniels said. “First of all, I was very glad they had been rescued or pulled out of the water, but then I was really sad that somebody threw them in the water.”
San Diego Harbor Police said they are not sure who pulled the scooters and bikes out of the water, but that it’s not the first time it has happened. They said last year during their Operation Clean Sweep they found numerous bikes and scooters under water.
“We were surprised and nevertheless we found them and they were close in proximity. That told me that people just found a bunch of them in that area and just started throwing them in the water,” Sgt. Ramon Colon, with Harbor police, said.
In one case, Colon said an octopus appeared to have made a home out of one of the bikes, so they carefully removed the creature and let it go.
Officers are reminding people that throwing the scooters and bikes into the ocean is not only a crime — it’s also bad for the environment.
“Especially the scooters ,[they] have an electrical battery inside of them and this battery, when it interacts with the ocean water or salt water, it creates a chemical reaction and those chemicals are being spilled in the bay,” Colon said. “When you pull the scooters out of the water, you can hear the battery sizzling.”
Police said if you are caught tossing them in the water, you could face a misdemeanor or felony vandalism charge depending on how much damage is done. Police and dockless companies ask that you contact them if you see someone throwing scooters or bikes into the ocean.