By: Jessica Mojonnier
Dock-less, accessible, and easy-to-use. Electric scooters are taking over the streets of downtown San Francisco.
It’s hard not to miss them. Whether you see people riding them or see them parked sporadically throughout the city. The dock-less vehicles, locked and unlocked with an app, can be dropped off and picked up anywhere.
Although convenient for some, Mike Gaughan who rides a pedicab up and down the Embarcadero and he says that safety is a huge concern, for both the rider and pedestrians. Gaughn said, “You can see them wobbling and shaking, they don’t really know what they’re doing and we don’t know if they’re supposed to be on the street, in the bike lane, or on the sidewalks.”
These scooters go about 15 mph and although that might not be as fast as moving traffic, they are required to be ridden in the bike lane or beside traffic, not on the sidewalk like many think.
A set of rules are printed and visible on each dock-less scooter, but not always followed. A rule that is actually required by law, is one that is most commonly ignored and that is… to wear a helmet.
A resident of the SOMA area says, “I think the biggest problem is there’s no education. There’s no education about the laws on the sidewalk, what’s not allowed and whats allowed. And there’s a lot of disinformation.”
Rules are not being enforced and users aren’t always aware of them before taking a scooter for a spin.
SFMTA and city lawmakers are currently looking to form legislation to regulate dock-less scooter sharing on public streets.