San Francisco Board of Supervisors passes ordinance to regulate scooters

Byby Katie Utehs KGO logo
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
San Francisco leaders agree to regulate scooters
A permit process proposed by San Francisco supervisors as a way to regulate recently launched fleets of powered, dockless scooters was passed unanimously by the city's Board of Supervisors at their Tuesday meeting.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco's Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to regulate dockless scooters following weeks of complaints from residents and even legal action by City Attorney Dennis Herrara.

Dockless bike and scooter companies utilized a tactic made notorious by Uber: launch before cities regulate. It's a move that's frustrated city leaders.

"They've kind of behaved like a bunch of spoiled brats," said Supervisor Aaron Peskin. He proposed an ordinance to regulate the industry in early March trying to get rules in place.

"Two weeks before they deployed any of their devices. I actually think if they had worked collaboratively with the city the brouhaha never would have happened," said Peskin.

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

Before Peskin's ordinance could make its way through city hall the scooter companies launched.

"We're getting dozens if not hundreds of complaints. People having to dodge them on the sidewalks," said Peskin.

Yesterday the City Attorney issued a cease and desist order saying Bird, Lime Bike, and Spin were operating illegally. Peskin says the City Attorney's actions are independent of the regulation before the supervisors.

During its regular board meeting the Supervisors voted unanimously for Peskin's ordinance. From here, SFTMA will work on the rules and it'll come back to the board for a final vote.

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

Peskin says at some point he'd like to ride the scooters.

"But not until I have a guarantee that they're not going to share my credit card information with third parties," said Peskin.

Oakland City Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan also proposed regulations aimed at safety and fairness. She's been watching the issue develop in other cities.

"All of the other businesses that do business in our community have to follow laws and have to pay their taxes and as new businesses innovate it's not fair to everyone else for them to not be a part of that," said Kaplan.

VIDEO: What's up with those scooters parked around SF?

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

There's a demand for transportation options says San Francisco resident Matt Brezina. He's involved with the bike lane activist group, People Protected Bike Lane. Brezina's also invested in several of the dockless scooter companies. He likes the possibilities of a transportation option that's not a car.

"I have friends who work in the financial district and they have meetings in SOMA and they're either walking 30 minutes or sitting in an Uber for 20 minutes. And using a scooter or a shared bike they can get there in 10 minutes," said Brezina.

Both city leaders agree scooters are a viable transportation solution, if regulated.

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