SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Powered scooters returned to San Francisco streets Monday after months of hiatus as the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency reviewed and selected two companies to operate in the city.
“Today powered scooter companies, Scoot and Skip, will roll out their scooters as part of our one-year pilot program. Scoot and Skip were chose out of 12 applications because they prioritized the city’s concerns around safety, disabled access, equity and accountability,” SFMTA officials said.
Under the new pilot program, powered scooters will not be allowed on sidewalks, including the Embarcadero Promenade.
The SFMTA is also asking riders to park the scooters upright and near bike racks or by the curbside. Scooters should not be parked on sidewalks or near building entrances and away from ramps or blue, yellow or white curbs, to avoid blocking the path of a person who is disabled.
Additionally, riders should always wear helmets and only ride scooters in the bike or travel lane and obey traffic signals and signs, according to the SFMTA.
The permit system for the scooters was developed after the city’s Board of Supervisors unanimously passed legislation in April requiring all companies operating powered scooters in the city to seek permits.
The legislation was in response to a handful of scooter companies that had deployed hundreds of dockless scooters throughout San Francisco in late March, drawing the ire of many residents because they were often left on sidewalks, obstructing walkways.
San Francisco-based LimeBike, which was denied a permit to operate its scooters in the city, has alleged the SFMTA’s permit selection process is flawed.
LimeBike sought a restraining order to block the pilot program, but San Francisco Superior Court Judge Harold Kahn denied it on Friday. LimeBike, however, called the ruling a victory since Kahn has asked SFTMA officials to testify at a hearing next week.
According to LikeBike officials, during Friday’s hearing, Kahn “voiced serious concerns” about the permit process.
“We look forward to having our preliminary injunction request heard in the coming days – to ensure that the people of San Francisco receive a transparent, fair and equitable process that best serves the entire City and County,” LimeBike officials said in a statement.
“Our decision to file this lawsuit was not about preventing other operators from going forward; it was about exposing the biased and flawed process of the SFMTA, standing up for the rule of law, and serving Lime’s hometown,” the company said.
The SFMTA has maintained that its permit process was a fair one and has made available information about the process and its applicants at www.sfmta.com/sharedscooters.
LimeBike already operates in at least nine other Bay Area cities, including Oakland and San Mateo.
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