Mayor Sam Liccardo and members of the San Jose City Council last week proposed regulations to rein in how electric scooter companies operate in the city.
In a memo released by the Rules and Open Government Committee, app-driven electric scooters, known as e-scooters, must comply with new “geo-fencing” technology in order for companies such as Lime and Bird, to lawfully ride around in the city proper. “Geo-fencing” is technology that would halt or slow down scooters in certain geographic locations, such as sidewalks.
In a press conference toward the end of last week, Liccardo offered to provide a “collaborative solution” in lieu of the kind of e-scooter ban that has taken effect in recent months in other cities, including San Francisco and Seattle.
— Sam Liccardo (@sliccardo) December 6, 2018
The new rules would require e-scooter companies to share data with cities, make it easier for community members to report incidents, and to provide messages to new riders about safe riding practices.
In an emailed statement, Lime said it is “working with Mayor Liccardo and his staff, and appreciate his commitment to inexpensive, clean and inclusive forms of transportation. We share the same goal of reducing congestion in San Jose.”
When asked about the use of geo-fencing as a possible solution, a spokesman from Lime said the company is open to using technology to curb sidewalk riding. But he insisted that the kind technology touted by Liccardo is still under development, and the company wants to make sure it works before rolling it out.
Bird spokeswoman Rachel Bankston said the company plans to work collaboratively with the city on potential solutions.
“San Jose and Bird have a shared vision of a community with fewer cars, less traffic and reduced carbon emissions,” she wrote in an email to San Jose Inside. “It’s clear San Jose is a leading-edge city eager to embrace innovative ways to better connect this growing community. We look forward to continuing our work with Mayor Liccardo and the city staff to ensure the community and its visitors safely embrace our affordable, environmentally friendly transportation option.”
Just driving around San Jose, I see guys w/o helmets doing 25-30 mph the wrong way down “bike” lanes, or over side”walks” paralleling moving traffic on e-scooters. There’s an app for it, so it must be OK, right?
— Paul Reiber (@PaulReiber) September 22, 2018
According to the city’s proposal, e-scooter companies will have until July 1 to comply with new rules, or they will be denied permits to continue operating in San Jose.
The new regs come after spikes in e-scooter-related injuries and deaths throughout the U.S. Indeed, a Washington Post report shows an increase in trips to the emergency room from injuries related to e-scooters in the past year.
Additionally, while there have been no apparent increase in serious scooter-related injuries in Santa Clara County due to the scooters, local officials are working on new DUI rules for the micro-mobility vehicles.
The proposed rules on geo-fencing will be heard by the Rules Committee this Wednesday. New regulations will be considered by the full council on Dec. 18.
— Mike Lindblom (@MikeLindblom) November 14, 2018