Powered scooters to be regulated in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- For the past six weeks, San Francisco has seen an invasion of motorized scooters. Late Tuesday afternoon, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors voted on a pilot program that would regulate these companies.

The message seemed clear -- if you want to operate powered scooters in San Francisco, as a company, you must have a permit.

The SFMTA board of directors voted to offer five companies a permit to each operate up to 500 scooters, allowing for a total of 2,500 scooters on our streets.

"With a limited number, I think the scooters can be viable. I think we are concerned about a flood and overconcentration of them on our streets and sidewalks," explained Ed Reiskin, the SFMTA Director of Transportation.

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If you've walked the streets of San Francisco recently, you've probably seen them -- motorized scooters parked randomly on the sidewalk.

These companies -- Bird, Lime, and Spin -- must now educate their customers on the law. For example, anyone operating them must wear a helmet, something many don't agree with.

"It's harder to carry with me and it's not provided," said Bahman Ghassemzadeh, a regular rider of this motorized scooters.

The scooter companies must inform riders that the scooters cannot be used on the sidewalks, you must use the designated bicycle lane. The board was told that is one of the main reasons why these regulations will now be imposed.

"People are riding them on the sidewalk, parking them on the sidewalk, obstructing the path of travel," said Miriam Sorell of the SFMTA.

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Electric scooters have quickly become a cheap and convenient way to get around San Francisco. But San Francisco City Hall is cracking down on the scooter companies for allowing their riders to break so many laws.

The board is proposing issuing fines against those companies when some of these terms are violated.

The companies must also insure all of its riders.

Deltrice Boyd says, despite these new regulations, she'll always be a fan of the program. "Hey, I want to go up the street really quick, I don't feel like waiting for the bus so I hop on the scooter and get to where I want to go," said Boyd.

At the end of the 12-month pilot program, the SFMTA will look at their findings and propose changes to further regulate these scooter companies.

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