City officials confiscate dockless scooters throughout San Francisco

Marco Green
April 20, 2018

The three companies - Bird, LimeBike and Spin - say the scooters help reduce traffic by allowing people to travel without taking cars.

The motorized scooters that have appeared in San Francisco over the last few weeks will need a permit to be parked on a sidewalk, under a law the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved Tuesday.

These startups let people reserve a local scooter from a smartphone app, ride for a small fee, and, at the end of the journey, leave the scooter wherever to be claimed by the next rider.

While dozens of customers praised the companies Monday for offering an affordable and convenient transportation solution, many San Francisco residents described the "dockless" scooters - which, as their name suggests, can be parked anywhere - as a hazard that endangers pedestrians and obstructs sidewalks.

Attached to the cease and desist letters sent to each of the companies were pictures of riders violating the laws and rules of the road in question.

Via an open letter published on its website from Bird CEO VanderZanden, the company maintains a "save our sidewalks" policy that aims to return one dollar for each scooter in operation to the city while also pledging to maintain "responsible growth" and promote responsible scooter etiquette among its users.

You might be familiar with bike shares with their docks dotting most major metros, but starting this week people in Wynwood can expect a new transit twist - scooter sharing. That way, Bird will be able to see if people are violating parking rules, and suspend or deactivate users who frequently discard scooters in the middle of sidewalks or in front of building entrances.

LimeBike did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Residents have also reported encountering people riding the scooters, which can reach speeds of up to 15 miles per hour, on sidewalks, which is illegal in the city.

"They dumped thousands of these on city streets, harking back to the bad old days of asking for forgiveness rather than permission", San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin told The Mercury News.

Twitter users have even begun to keep track of scooters breaking the law in the city with the hashtag #scootersbehavingbadly.

But because municipal regulations largely do not exist for e-scooters and dockless bicycle systems have not typically undergone stringent environmental reviews, these services have created controversy wherever they have sprung up. The tech bro who came up with this idea is going to hell.

However, the board is not looking to ban the e-scooters.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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