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Walk SF speaks out on motorized scooters

 In Public Policy

Today, Walk San Francisco sent a letter to the three dockless scooter companies — Bird, Lime, and Spin — currently operating in San Francisco. In it, we urged the companies to take immediate action to follow the law (California Vehicle Code 21235, that is) which prohibits riding motorized scooters on sidewalks and parking them in a way that blocks pedestrian mobility. (See the letter here.)

To find out how you can support keeping people safe on the sidewalk, see the meeting and photo info below.

“San Francisco’s sidewalks must remain a safe, protected space for people to walk. Suddenly, motorized vehicles are zooming along the sidewalks. That’s unsafe, and it’s illegal,” said Walk SF’s executive director Jodie Medeiros.

“People walking on the sidewalk are getting hit by these scooters. The scooters are littering the sidewalks and creating hazards. We will not tolerate this.”


Photos of #ScootersBehavingBadly

We have created an album of photos on Facebook of motorized scooters traveling on the sidewalk and parked in the public right-of-way, impeding travel.

  • Share your photos; tag with #ScootersBehavingBadly 

“It’s possible these new vehicles could become a valuable part of the transportation ecosystem in San Francisco, but the companies that are putting them on our streets and sidewalks need to prioritize public safety,” said Medeiros.

“The bottom line is, safety must come first.”


Permit system needed

Walk San Francisco supports a proposed ordinance by Supervisors Aaron Peskin and Jane Kim, which would enable San Francisco to create a permit system for the scooters, and to impose fines on noncompliant companies. The ordinance is expected to be heard by the full Board of Supervisors at the end of April.

We are also working with San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) to plan the permit system.

“Supporting eco-friendly modes of transit is forward thinking and necessary to relieve gridlock and reduce the number of cars on the roads,” said Supervisor Kim. “However, we must permit and approve e-scooter companies before they operate in San Francisco to ensure safety and good neighbor policies. We should remove these scooters immediately until we implement common-sense rules to keep people safe.”


Upcoming meetings

At two upcoming meetings, Supervisors will consider the issue. You can attend either or both and speak up, or email the Supervisors on each committee.

Walk SF staff will attend and speak in support at both meetings.


More solutions

Though the companies’ apps do apparently include the information that riding on the sidewalk is illegal, it is clearly not enough. Many people are still riding on the sidewalk.

More is needed to educate their customers. One idea is to print “ILLEGAL TO RIDE ON THE SIDEWALK” in large letters on the scooters themselves.

We call on these scooter companies to take immediate actions to keep people safe, and keep our sidewalks clear.