San Francisco

Oakland City Leaders Propose Electric Scooter Rules

Three Oakland City Council members are taking a page out of San Francisco’s playbook, calling for new permits for the use of dock-less bikes and scooters around the city.

In an ordinance that would regulate the use of rideshare bikes and electric scooters around the city, city leaders also urge companies to educate riders on rules of the road and where to properly park them, something that’s been a problem for the city.

"We pull them out of the lake, we set them up on their side, by the time we come back, they’ve disappeared so we assume the company picks them up," said Laura Goderez, who volunteers her time cleaning up the city.

Once or twice a week, Goderez says she pulls out an electric scooter from the water in Lake Merritt. It’s become such a common thing that there’s even a twitter account dedicated to scooter sightings in the lake.

"We definitely need them not to be in the lake," said Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan. "One of the requirements of the rules we’ve introduced, would require the company, if the scooter is left in the wrong place like the lake, to deploy a crew to come move it and get it out of there."

Kaplan thinks the scooters are convenient and has even used them to get to meetings, but agrees with the fact that rideshare companies need to handle them correctly.

"By creating these rules, we can make sure they behave more responsibly and educate their riders," she said.

A representative from scooter company Bird said they are having productive conversations with city leaders and look forward to working with Oakland City Council.

In addition to making sure the scooters and bikes are properly parked, providers would also need to make sure the rideshare bikes and scooters are accessible in all parts of Oakland, especially in underserved neighborhoods.

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