Dockless scooters, bikes have bumpy launch in SF, San Jose, cities hustle to regulate

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- You may have noticed a recent surge in electric scooters and bikes in both San Jose and San Francisco. Several companies have launched dockless electric scooters. Now city transportation officials are trying to catch-up and regulate the latest transportation trend.
"Scanning the QR code," said Florencio Perez, he unlocked an electric scooter in Downtown San Jose.

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The Bird scooter is one of many recently deployed across the Bay Area.

"I use it to commute quickly around from place to place. I feel it's convenient and it's something new," said Perez.

The dockless electric bikes and scooters are easy to come by you just download an app. There's a LimeBike station at the Westfield Valley Fair Mall where bikes are placed in a rack. But the problem according to some people is that bikes and scooters are being dumped in neighborhoods and left sidewalks.

"When people are you know done, they just leave it anywhere they want and take off. It's garbage in the neighborhood," said Carrie Yasukawa, a San Jose resident.

Yasukawa says these bike resting on a street pole in her neighborhood have been here for days.

Robert Rossi points to the same two bikes. He asks, "Could these bikes sit here forever? That's the question right because nobody here wants transportations specifically from this spot."

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Transportation officials are trying to catch-up and regulate the new industry.
"For the moment they are not prohibited and we're in contact with both the companies that are operating e-scooters. We're trying to work on an agreed upon framework for them to operate on our city streets," said Colin Heyne, with the City of San Jose Department of Transportation.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency sent a letter to the companies; Bird, LimeBike, and Spin. The agency is asking them to submit a business plan to the City as well as comply with local and state regulations.

The letter cites California vehicle code for motorized upright scooters: helmets are required, you must have a valid driver's license or permit to operate, and scooters should be driven on the roadway or bike lane, not the sidewalk except where necessary to enter or depart adjacent property.

The CHP says standing motorized scooters fall under CA vehicle codes 21226 and 21225. There are several classes of motorized bikes, which are outlined in the DMV's motorcycle handbook.

LimeBike says it collects scooters every night for charging and deploys them in areas based on data related to demand.

"If there's dumping in a neighborhood we encourage people to call the company first, but if poses a hazard absolutely contact the city," said Heyne.

Click here to read a letter from the SFMTA on dockless bikes and scooters.

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