Mentioning a few minor concerns over ticketing inconsiderate scooter users, the City Council unanimously approved a six-month pilot program on Thursday that places regulations on dockless vehicles. The rules have been in the works since Bird, and eventually Lime and S.A.-based Blue Duck, entered downtown over the summer.
There are now 3,003 scooters throughout the city—1,700 belonging to Bird, 850 to Lime, and 453 to Blue Duck—John Jacks, director of the Center City Development and Operations department, told the City Council. Other companies such as Razor, Spin, Skip and Zagster have considered joining the scooter fray in San Antonio, he said.
“We sort of watched this develop, saw where the pressure points were, and responded accordingly,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg said.
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» Should always yield to pedestrians
» Must be 16 or older to ride
» Must ride on 35 mph-or-slower roads
» Must use bike lanes
» Cannot ride in city parks and trailways
» Must stay three feet away from pedestrians on sidewalks
» May park scooters in bike racks
» May not park in a SWell Cycle station
» Are prohibited form parking within eight feet of a building entrance; a loading zone; within four feet of street furniture: and cannot block curbs ramps, entryways or driveways; and within 15 feet of a bus stop pole or shelter
If scooters are improperly parked, concerned citizens should call the companies, which will have 1-2 hours to correction the violation. However, Jacks said, “typically, a lot of these are self-corrected,” when the next rider picks up the scooter.
Jacks said the city is considering requiring companies to install geofencing which would render the rides inoperable in high-traffic areas such as the River Walk and the Convention Center. The city is also looking into putting signs directing users where to park in “highly-sensitive” areas such as Main Plaza.
So far, there’s no limit of total number of scooters allowed on San Antonio streets, because the city wants to gauge how the market reacts to the volume.
The companies will have to pay a fee of $10 per vehicle and a “vender application fee” of $500—which would translate to $31,530 in fee revenue for the city based on today’s volume. The fee is to help offset the city’s cost related to regulation.
District 9 Councilman John Courage told Jacks he liked the idea of placing some form of cards on the handlebars that educate the rider of the dos and don’ts.
Both District 10 Councilman Clayton Perry and District 7 Councilwoman Ana Sandoval asked about ticketing scooter users who violate these rules, or just basic traffic rules.
“I’m just concerned that we’re waiting on this ordinance to start enforcing traffic laws on the streets,” Perry said.
Jacks said, so far, no scooter rider has been ticketed for a traffic violation, such as running a red light or not stopping at a stop sign.
Police Chief William McManus told Sandoval that bike cops would likely to be the ones to enforce the new rules if there weren’t more pressing public safety matters to attend to.