SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — The increasing popularity of electric rental scooters popping up on sidewalks all over San Francisco has city officials mulling legal action against the scooter start-ups.
City leaders across the board say their email inboxes are full complaints from residents over the electric scooters that popped up all over San Francisco in late March.
What makes them convenient is also the biggest complaint about them. The scooters are dockless, so they’re being left everywhere. City leaders say the two-wheeled motorized vehicles are endangering the disabled and blocking public right of way.
Three companies — LimeBike, Bird, and Spin — dropped dozens of the scooters across the city a couple weeks ago. Now they’re being left in piles all over San Francisco.
City leaders say the companies have to clean up their acts or get out of San Francisco.
“If they want to continue this level of arrogance, we’ll impound their scooters and send them packing,” said SF Supervisor Aaron Peskin.
Peskin told KPIX 5 he tried to get ahead of the problem. He introduced legislation March 6th requiring the companies to get permits for their scooters before they launched, but all three went ahead without permission.
“Bird and Lime knew this when they chose to dump them on the streets,” said Peskin.
The problem has been described as bikeshare part two. The companies came to San Francisco without permits, angering city leaders ranging from Supervisor Peskin to the SFMTA officials to City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who is now considering legal action.
“San Francisco has had enough of the mantra ‘move fast and break things,'” Herrera said in a statement. “We are examining all of our legal options to protect the more than one million people who use San Francisco’s sidewalks every day.”
Joe Arellano, a spokesperson for LimeBike said Peskin knew to introduce the legislation because the company gave the city a heads up they were coming.
“I think from our perspective we’ve always kept the city informed of our plans,” said Arellano.
He hopes LimeBike will help solve some of the congestion on streets that San Francisco residents frequently complain about.
“We think we can help with that; get people out of their cars and out of rideshare [cars] and onto a scooter,” said Arellano.
He says LimeBike will comply once rules are in place, for now, they’re working on educating users.
“We know we have a long way to go, but it’s going to come down to education,” explained Arellano. “It’s a new technology. Folks don’t understand. They need to be 18, they do need to wear a helmet.”
Bird has created a “Save Our Sidewalks” pledge which would guarantee daily pickups and donate $1 for each vehicle used that day to go into city coffers. Bird has asked the other two companies to sign on to that agreement, but neither of them have so far