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Scooter Battle Rages in San Francisco

The city wants to regulate the rentable scooters
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2018 7:30 PM CDT
A motorized scooter is parked in front of an office building in San Francisco, Tuesday, April 17, 2018.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
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(Newser) – A battle between the city of San Francisco and companies that rent out motorized scooters has come to a head: On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an ordinance seeking to regulate the scooters, TechCrunch reports. At issue is the fact that the companies—LimeBike, Spin, and Bird—started operating three weeks ago without approval from the city, and city authorities say the electric scooters can be dangerous. "We cannot overstate the public safety hazard that operating motorized scooters pose on City sidewalks," said City Attorney Dennis Herrera in a cease-and-desist letter to the companies Monday, per Slate.

The letter ordered the companies to stop operating until a plan was in place to make sure customers stop riding on sidewalks and without helmets or drivers licenses, and stop parking in places that block sidewalks, ramps, and transit stops. (They don't require a docking station and can thus be left anywhere when riders are done using them, the AP reports.) TechCrunch says the letter didn't "seem to be making any difference," as scooters from all three companies were spotted on San Francisco streets Tuesday. The Board of Supervisors is looking to put a permitting process in place for the scooter companies similar to the one that exists for bike-sharing companies operating in the city; it hopes to have the process in place by May 1. It also plans to establish fines starting at $125 when scooter regulations are violated.

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