New Rules focus on slower speeds, public safety and rider education while encouraging more mobility options for San Diegans.
Today Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer won unanimous City Council approval for new regulations for the dockless mobility industry that require companies to obtain permits and comply with new rules aimed at improving safety, such as limiting speeds in certain public spaces and staging the devices in designated corrals.
The regulations focus on six key areas – speed limits, staging and parking, rider education, data sharing, fees, and indemnification and liability insurance – intended to make the nascent industry more safe and accountable while better integrating the devices into San Diego’s transportation landscape.
“The way people get around town has changed quite a bit and we’re embracing that by putting in place common-sense rules to protect the quality of life in our neighborhoods,” Mayor Faulconer said. “These new regulations allow us to hold these companies accountable for their actions while establishing clear rules of the road to ensure this evolving industry grows in a safe and responsible way
”Mayor Faulconer’s regulations go into effect July 1. The program calls for a six-month permit that allows City leaders to hold companies accountable by declining to renew for operators that fail to follow the new rules. To receive a permit, companies will pay a $5,141 fee and must declare how many scooters and e-bikes they will have in the market for that time period, preventing rapid fluctuations in fleet size throughout the year.
City Councilmember Jennifer Campbell said, “Like many in our beach and bay communities, I’m disappointed the City Council would not consider a ban of electric scooters, e-bikes and other dockless options on our boardwalk
While the rules approved by Council do not go as far as I would like, I’m happy to see some level of regulation and enforcement added to our municipal code. This gives us a baseline of information to work off of and will allow us the opportunity to revisit these regulations at Council if the data we collect suggests they’re not working. Finally, to the many District 2 residents that came to City Hall today, thank you for providing the Council with your perspective and experiences and know that I will continue to fight for our beach communities.”
City Councilmember Chris Cate said, “I am pleased to see the City adopt sensible regulations for dockless scooters that prioritizes public safety and embraces evolving technology. “Resolving this issue has been one of my top priorities, and I am appreciative that my solutions will be implemented.”
Key components of the regulations include:
Speed Limits: In specific geofenced areas, operators will slow scooters to 8 mph. Three of the geofenced areas are pedestrian-only and operators will slow scooters to 3 mph with a push message notifying riders to leave that area.
Geofencing will be in effect for beach-area boardwalks, Balboa Park, NTC Park, Mission Bay Park, Petco Park, and the pedestrian-only locations, including North/South Embarcadero, MLK Jr. Promenade, and La Piazza della Famiglia.
Staging: Operators will no longer be able to stage scooters and e-bikes on sidewalks in Downtown.
The City has identified – and is currently installing – 330 on-street dockless parking corrals throughout Downtown where staging is allowed.
In the beach areas, operators are only permitted to stage in groups of up to four, with 40 feet in between each group. The City will identify corral locations in the beach areas and, once installed, will require their use.
The City also will conduct an evaluation of locations throughout San Diego where designated parking corrals would be beneficial and, working with the City Council and communities, install more.
Rider parking: Operators will prohibit riders from ending a ride in specific geofenced areas, including beach area boardwalks.
Education: Consistent messages about local and state laws in smartphone applications will be required. As will on-device labeling about age requirements and how riding on the sidewalk is illegal.
Per Device Fee: A per device fee of $150 annually will be assessed. A reduction of $15 per device will be offered for operators offering a qualified equity program.
Equity programs may include discounts, equitable distribution, credit-card free unlock or mobile-device free unlock.
Data Sharing: A variety of data will be shared about ridership, parking, paths of travel and more to assist the City in transportation planning, Climate Action Plan reporting and enforcement.
Indemnification/Insurance: Operators will be required to indemnify the City from liability and to hold a $2 million per occurrence, $4 million aggregate and $4 million umbrella insurance policy.
Performance Bond: Each operator will be required to pay a “Safety Deposit” – $65 for each device in fleet – to be held in the event the company leaves the market without its devices.