SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – Officials in San Francisco on Tuesday slammed the brakes on electric scooter companies trying to swerve around the rules.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an ordinance that forces scooter businesses to get a permit or risk getting their product taken off the street.
The ordinance received it’s initial approval from the Board of Supervisors last week, city regulations require a second reading and passage before an ordinance is sent to the mayor.
“We introduced this ordinance long before they dropped their scooters, so they actually knew this was coming,” said Supervisor Aaron Peskin. “And now we’re going to have a rational permitting process as we do for stationless bicycles and Segways.”
The scooters were deployed throughout the city in March by three companies: LimeBike, Spin and Bird.
The vehicles, which have a GPS device that allows users to find them via a mobile app, are often seen being used on sidewalks and left unattended, often blocking walkways around the city. The scooters have triggered a number of complaints from people who work and live in San Francisco.
“They’re quickly becoming a nuisance,” said San Francisco resident Ryan Wold. “They’re hard to govern. It’s a good idea. The implementation is key so I’m curious to see how it plays out.”
“I loathe them,” agreed SF resident Patricia. “I think we have so much to deal with in San Francisco and so much ridiculousness and obstruction on the sidewalk. I think they’re very dangerous. They’re a huge liability for the city.”
If Mayor Mark Farrell approves the ordinance, any scooter left parked, abandoned or unattended on a public sidewalk or street without an MTA permit, the company will get a violation.
“I think places will evolve and create new forms of storage for them,” said Wold.”Ultimately, what it shows is that there’s a demand for other ways to get around the city and people’s time is precious.”
Kpix 5 reached out to the major electric scooter companies that do business in San Francisco regarding the ordinance. The three companies all said they are eager to work with the city and satisfy the new need for micro transit.