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More Regulation? -- Scooter dangers on crowded boardwalks

Posted at 6:09 PM, Mar 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-31 21:09:26-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV)— In the wake of two serious e-scooter accidents over the weekend, San Diego city leaders are working to update e-scooter regulations. While the scooters are off-limits on all city sidewalks, they are allowed on beach boardwalks. While some believe they are instrumental in freeing up car traffic and parking, others believe scooters just bring the congestion straight onto the boardwalks.

Chase McKenna enjoys riding e-scooters at Pacific Beach. He says it is the best way to enjoy the boardwalk.

"Cruise around the strip right here and that's fun,” McKenna said. “They're convenient because down here, they're everywhere."

But what is fun and convenient for McKenna, is a total nightmare for Paul Thackery.

"PB's great. The scooters are out of control,” Thackery said.

He says some areas along the boardwalk are beginning to look like a scooter graveyard. He has also been hit by several intoxicated scooterists in the last several months.

"I can't stand them. I ride my bike down here every day, and scooters are in the way, it's dangerous,” Thackery said. “I think they should get rid of them all together. "

This weekend alone, at least two e-scooterists in San Diego were sent to the hospital for severe injuries. San Diego Police said a 39-year-old man fell off a scooter just before 10 pm Saturday in Mission Beach. He suffered life-threatening head injuries. Then at 12:30 am Sunday, just a mile away, a 62-year-old man lost control of his scooter, and crashed into a sidewalk. He suffered a neck fracture and facial abrasions.

Since February 2018, two people in San Diego County have even died in scooter crashes. The city of San Diego is now defending against four e-scooter lawsuits that claim the city needed to enforce stronger regulations to prevent collisions and accidents.
But in a crowded place like a boardwalk, McKenna says scooters are not the only issue.

"A person on their bicycle can be just as inconsiderate,” McKenna said.

That is why McKenna says it is vital that each rider regulates themselves.
We met Tracy Grimmett, a visitor from Modesto, doing a few practice laps before taking off for the first time.

“Yes, without running into all the people around here. Yes, trying!” she laughed.

She hopes to have fun while being considerate, as they share the busy boardwalk with thousands of weekenders.

"Be courteous around people, go slow,” McKenna said. “If there's a lot of people, you have to slow down, and you have to give other people the right of way."

The city of San Diego is now considering making companies install “geo-fencing” on the scooters. That would automatically slow down the maximum speed of the scooters to 8mph in designated zones, including Mission Beach and Pacific Beach boardwalks.