Santa Barbara City Impounds Ride-Share Scooters

Santa Barbara City Impounds Ride-Share Scooters title=
Santa Barbara City Impounds Ride-Share Scooters
43 Comments
Reads 8350

Source: City of Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara awoke [Friday] morning to about 100 electric scooters lining Downtown State Street sidewalks.  The company Lime Bike, based in San Mateo, CA, placed the electric scooters despite conversations with City Officials about existing Municipal Code regulations that conflict with the scooter deployment.  “We see the electric scooter share as potentially having transportation and economic vitality benefits to the City.  But we are also concerned about the safety of our citizens and their use of the scooters,” said Rebecca Bjork, Public Works Director.

Electric scooters are placed on the sidewalk with onboard indicators to use a phone app to pay for and use it.  When done with a ride, the user leaves the scooter and it becomes ready for the next user.  The phone app lets users know where to find a scooter, among other information. 

Over the past two months, the City has learned much about launches of scooter shares in other communities, sometimes multiple companies launching within weeks.  While clear benefits exist, scooters are causing controversy and safety issues.  Scooters can be left in the travel path of the sidewalk and become a trip hazard to pedestrians.  Many are ridden on the sidewalk.  Although riding an electric scooter by state law requires a helmet, the companies typically do not provide them.  Clutter is also an issue as scooters are often piled in certain locations, like transit stops.   Where the scooters have already landed, cities are scrambling to write legislation to ensure the scooter share industry can be rolled out safely and within the context of each city.

Realizing this, City staff is bringing an emergency ordinance to City Council on June 19.  The goal of the ordinance is to bring safety and accountability to scooter share and its providers through a limited one-year pilot program.  While scooter share may provide some transportation benefit and much needed economic stimulus, staff believes it needs to be rolled out well and monitored for safety compliance and needed adjustments that are in line with Santa Barbara.  The City also has some existing rules that enable Staff to impound the electric scooters should a company launch without City oversight.   Staff has met with or been in contact with four companies regarding this pending ordinance discussion, as well as existing rules and impound procedures. 

Lime Bike was notified of the pending actions and existing rules as well.  Lime Bike inquired about launching 100 scooters as a test to see if they will work in Santa Barbara.   While City staff stressed to the staff at Lime Bike the importance working with the Santa Barbara community and working within the process, it has chosen to put scooter out on the street [Friday].  The City notified Lime Bike immediately by phone and in writing that scooters will be impounded [Friday] at 1:00pm.  The impounding [was in process Friday afternoon] and is being conducted by Public Works with assistance as needed from the Police Department.

Login to add Comments

43 Comments

Toggle Comments (Show)
Luvaduck Jun 12, 2018 10:21 AM
Santa Barbara City Impounds Ride-Share Scooters

Used on the sidewalks, they'd be be a definite hazard to the elderly, disabled or oblivious and one coot or crone w/a broken hip is a disaster to their continued health and mobility. On the other hand, using them in the bike lane would create a hazard similate to those 'surreys with a fringe on top' that tourist rent. However, those are expensive by the hour and usually only obstruct bike & foot traffic along the beach along with moms w/little kids and strollers. They'd be a suicide mission in vehicular traffic, so where could they be used responsibly?

PitMix Jun 11, 2018 11:27 AM
Santa Barbara City Impounds Ride-Share Scooters

The rider agrees to wear a helmet when they set up the payment plan but they almost never do. So no liability to the company. They have GPS locaters so the company can track them down if they are stolen or misplaced or need to be recharged. It seems hard to believe that they can make a profit given that the scooters cost quite a bit to start with. Probably just burning through investor money.

Red Creek Jun 10, 2018 12:20 PM
Santa Barbara City Impounds Ride-Share Scooters

Pretty cheeky for a company with a for- profit product, banned already in many cities, to be dumped in public right of ways with fingers crossed that the City won't notice or bother to deal with it. I vote no. Walk or bike. Both are environmentally friendly activities, have public supported pathways and are good for your health.

Emmenanthe Jun 10, 2018 10:26 AM
Santa Barbara City Impounds Ride-Share Scooters

Thank you City of Santa Barbara. Commercial enterprises like this one do need to be regulated. This appears to be a get-rich-quick scheme that takes no responsibility for the multitude of adverse impacts to pedestrian and traffic safety that it potentially will foist on our community. Among them, increased costs to taxpayers to clean up problems generated by the business.

Ehdat Jun 10, 2018 09:10 AM
Santa Barbara City Impounds Ride-Share Scooters

Liability? What happened to personal responsibility? The scooters have the rules right on the stem, and also offers to send a helmet to their customers for 10 bucks. People like them because they are designed well and easy to operate. Bike rentals have been in SB for over 30 years, this is just another option to get around.

Ahchooo Jun 10, 2018 09:49 AM
Santa Barbara City Impounds Ride-Share Scooters

Alas, personal responsibility is too often undermined by court rulings. And even if city liability is limited, a lot of money is spent on legal defense. But maybe something can be worked out. I like the idea of having scooters available downtown, as long as riders don't frighten pedestrians. Scooters should go in the bike lanes.

TomTomTomTom Jun 10, 2018 08:39 AM
Santa Barbara City Impounds Ride-Share Scooters

Banta Barbara. Where bans are issued faster than almost anywhere, except maybe China or Afghanistan... Arent we lucky to live in a such a free thinking, easy going and accepting community?

4326 Jun 10, 2018 10:45 AM
Santa Barbara City Impounds Ride-Share Scooters

OMG ! I just realized that I broke the law by showering after doing my laundry . If I'm caught ( neighbors encouraged to report on each other ) that's a $ 1000.00 down the drain !

RHS Jun 10, 2018 08:20 AM
Santa Barbara City Impounds Ride-Share Scooters

Missing in this dialogue is the point that the "company" dumping this product on our community is trying to get rich quick by ignoring reasonable rules imposed by the people. Hit and run and take the money. The city (and the other cities around the state) should have access to the internet connection used to "rent" this so they could confiscate the revenue. That would stop this nonsense.

Shasta Guy Jun 10, 2018 06:54 AM
Santa Barbara City Impounds Ride-Share Scooters

This whole thing sounds like it came right out of "Ecotopia," a book I had to read in high school. Instead of scooters, it was bikes that anyone could use and leave anywhere after they were done.

Bird Jun 09, 2018 11:18 PM
Santa Barbara City Impounds Ride-Share Scooters

I think they should be allowed, but only a limited number and there should be enforcement if all the regilations, helmets, no sidewalks — each scooter should have a clearly visible number. Some of rhe franchise fee should go to the MTD since the scooters will cut into the buses. And for downtown rhe city should. have parking requirements. Id bet they are fun to ride; i wonder how good are the brakes and uf they have turn signals. I think 15 mph is the top speed.

d8vanilla Jun 09, 2018 05:53 PM
Santa Barbara City Impounds Ride-Share Scooters

I just watched this video ..... same subject, but in San Francisco, where electric scooters are banned... Good ole Stanley Roberts reporting... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVX_X6BKg60

d8vanilla Jun 09, 2018 05:51 PM
Santa Barbara City Impounds Ride-Share Scooters

The Segways are NOT being left all over the place, they go back to where they came from . And, it looks like the Segways are part of a tour, and not rented by individuals. The scooters can be left anywhere .... like in the middle of the street..... (if someone got pissy about it)......

sbmh2015 Jun 09, 2018 04:19 PM
Santa Barbara City Impounds Ride-Share Scooters

Has anyone seen the scooters in person or the people riding them ? Well, I did. And the riders were on the sidewalk. Not in the street. Not in a bike lane. These scooters shouldn't be welcome in Santa Barbara. Many other cities have not allowed them. Look it up.

mrtrump Jun 09, 2018 04:04 PM
Santa Barbara City Impounds Ride-Share Scooters

If the city requires Lime Bike to obtain permits so the city can enforce the laws on Lime Bike, then the city would be lawfully bound to require all bicycles and scooters to have permits to operate on city streets and side walks.

mm1970 Jun 11, 2018 08:40 AM
Santa Barbara City Impounds Ride-Share Scooters

The permit requirements, I assume are: 1. To operate a business in city limits (if you ride your bike downtown, you aren't running a business, now are you? You are just getting around.) 2. To permanently park on city-owned land (parking lots aren't free, for example).

Channelfog Jun 09, 2018 03:28 PM
Santa Barbara City Impounds Ride-Share Scooters

Ha Ha! I missed that! While I hate leaf blowers blowing debris onto neighbors that law is not enforced, but SCOOTERS, oh no! People are so tied up in the legal liabilities or, they will be left strewn about. Thus the world collapses upon itself. Anything that was once laid back and mellow about SB is but a memory. The financial stress required for SB living leaves little tolerance for scooters or anything else these days.

Channelfog Jun 09, 2018 02:44 PM
Santa Barbara City Impounds Ride-Share Scooters

Supposedly ,the city is "green", it wants to get people out of their cars, yet they clamp down on something as non threatening as scooters. The city government is a cancer on the community, staffed by clockers that berate and belittle the citizens. These petty bureaucrats were one reason for our deciding to leave after decades. I would very much like to see the results of a survey/poll of SB Citizens opinions of their local government and its' "service" to them, service the community pays a very dear penny for.

Channelfog Jun 09, 2018 04:04 PM
Santa Barbara City Impounds Ride-Share Scooters

Anchoo, your last sentence presents the problem of living in a lawyers litigious society precisely. Scooters should not be a big deal, but within said context, nothing short of staying at home on the couch, "is safe and legally non-compromising."

Channelfog Jun 09, 2018 04:05 PM
Santa Barbara City Impounds Ride-Share Scooters

Anchoo, your last sentence presents the problem of living in a lawyers litigious society precisely. Scooters should not be a big deal, but within said context, nothing short of staying at home on the couch, "is safe and legally non-compromising."

Ahchooo Jun 09, 2018 03:49 PM
Santa Barbara City Impounds Ride-Share Scooters

If the city allows them, will the city (taxpayers) be liable when people are injured? What about reckless riders knocking over feeble pedestrians? You know people will ride them on sidewalks. And what about the helmet issue--could the city be liable if riders clonk their heads and say "I assumed it was safe, the city allowed them and didn't provide helmets." I hate the litigious nature of society, but we ignore it at our peril.

SBZZ Jun 09, 2018 02:36 PM
Santa Barbara City Impounds Ride-Share Scooters

It could work if they stay in the streets and bike paths, but the rider safety risk? I hope it does not end up like the situation in Mission Beach in San Diego - scooters discarded all over the place and excessive speeds on walkways has changed walking on the boardwalks for the worse. At least the City is finally doing some homework - maybe they can make it work.

Potif Jun 09, 2018 03:01 PM
Santa Barbara City Impounds Ride-Share Scooters

The safety aspect would probably be the first thing to address. Does the company carry enough insurance if someone should 'crash', and hit their head, or a pedestrian. And, then the problem of them being left all over, and not conveniently located for others when someone 'drops it off' after they arrive at their location.

sbmh2015 Jun 09, 2018 01:59 PM
Santa Barbara City Impounds Ride-Share Scooters

The scooters are not gone. And they are very big. I saw several in different locations in downtown State Street. I was on my way to the farmers market. Then while I was waiting to park at the market, 2 people went by riding the scooters. They were on the sidewalk on Santa Barbara street right outside the market. In my opinion, these scooters have no place in Santa Barbara. Not only the safety factor, but boy are they very unsightly. I've been reading the past few weeks about San Francisco having so many problems with these scooters.

a-1537781277 Jun 09, 2018 10:55 AM
Santa Barbara City Impounds Ride-Share Scooters

Bravo on the quick response. The concept definitely needs more development before launching here. Are helmets really required for low speed electric scooters? They aren't for electric bikes up to 28mph

Please Login or Register to comment on this.