Safe Walkways USA
For the Right of People to Walk in Safety


We advocate for measures to restore safety for all people, including people in wheelchairs and the vision impaired, people of all ages and all aspects of life to have the freedom to use the walkways of our city.

Our primary goal is simple: get motorized vehicles, particularly rented motorized scooters, off our walkways.

San Diego Has No Dockless Rental Scooters!

Write to the Mayor and Council right now to keep it that way.

The City's Shared Mobility Device, SMD, program collapsed last year when the last of the four scooter companies withdrew. The Director of the Sustainability and Mobility department, Alyssa Muto ([email protected]) said the scooter rental companies had complained about San  Diego Municipal Code regulations which protect the safety of pedestrians. They require that:

  • any rented scooter driven on a sidewalk be slowed to 3mph.
  • there be a two-hour curfew when bars emptied.
  • multiple checks of drivers licenses to keep kids off motorized scooters.

Kent Lee, Council Member for District 6, ([email protected]), proposed that those safety measures either be scrapped or diluted in order to "entice" the scooter rental companies back. But doing that would mean motorized scooters would again be back in San Diego and driven on sidewalks at 15mph or more, traumatising and injuring pedestrians.

It is important that while there are no rental scooters back in San Diego we do not wait for them to return. We want citizens to express their opposition to the proposed roll-back of the City's pedestrian safety measures. CM Lee and others on the Council need to understand how many people are glad to have the status quo and feel safer as a result of the 2022 changes.

While there is a break and uncertainty about whether dockless motorized scooters will return, if you don't want scooter companies "enticed" back, contact your Council Member and the Mayor and let them know how you feel especially if you live in San Diego communicating with your San Diego Council Member and Mayor Gloria are particularly important. Both the Mayor and members of Council are up for election this year.

To communicate with the nine members of Council and Mayor Todd Gloria, we suggest writing via email - the preceding links provide their email addresses. Your message can be very simple.

For example send an email with a subject of PROTECT PEDESTRIAN SAFETY saying something like:

"I am writing to tell you that I oppose the proposals to change the Municipal Code to roll back  measures protecting the safety of pedestrians. Please do not do it."

 ... or...

"I am glad the City adopted regulations in 2022 to protect the safety of pedestrians. They do not need to be changed to entice scooter companies back".

You might add some personal information about your experience with motorized scooters as a pedestrian, but that's not required.

Regardless of whether you receive a reply, Council Members and the Mayor tally messages for or against a particular issue to get a sense of public support or opposition.


What You Can Get From This Website

  • Tools and resources that you can use as an advocate for pedestrian safety:
    • to report scooter parking violations
    • to explain the safety problems created by rental scooter companies and their users.
      • Parking and staging create obstacles and hazards for pedestrians, especially the disabled and result in injuries.
      • Driving on sidewalks injures and traumatizes pedestrians driving them off places they used to think were safe for walking.
    • to debunk myths used to justify the scooter rental industry:
      • The rental scooter industry decreases carbon emissions.
        • False, it increases them.
      • Rental scooters are a cost-effective solution to the First Mile - Last Mile transportation problem.
        • False, private ownership is cheaper and less risky.
      • Rental scooters are safe and just as safe as bicycles and cars.
        • False, the design of kick scooters is inherently unstable and much more so than a bicycle, the injury rate for travel by scooter is nearly 400 times that for travel by car and serious injuries associated with travel by scooter are far higher than those associated with cycling.
      • Rental scooter companies place safety as their top priority.
        • False, they actively work to have safety regulations removed or watered down.
      • Rental scooter companies are responsible members of the local community.
        • False, they enter markets without warning and disregard local regulations, including those designed to protect property.
      • Rental scooter users have a drivers license and obey traffic laws.
        • False, they often disregard the rules of the road, leave scooters on or blocking access to private property, the rental companies do not prevent children from accessing and driving them and under 18s do not wear a helmet.
      • If involved in a collision rental scooter users have third-party liability insurance coverage provided by existing policies and can easily be identified.
        • False, their regular auto and home insurance does not cover third parties injured by a driver of a rental scooter, the rental company will not provide information about a hit and run renter and scooters carry no easily read unique identification.
  • Information about:
    • the role San Diego played in the development of the scooter rental industry,
    • the ongoing failure of the City of San Diego to protect pedestrian safety effectively,
    • what it could cost for it to do so,
    • who members of Safe Walkways are and why we set it up.

The History Of Our Fight For SAFE Walkways

In February 2018 motorized scooters for rent appeared in San Diego with neither warning nor explanation yet in violation of the City's Municipal Code on encroachment [§129.0702 (a) (2)], the California Vehicle Code [§22500 (f)] and the prohibition of the use of a sidewalk as a place from which to run a business without a permit.

While other cities adopted sensible approaches towards the invasion of motorized scooters we witnessed our City do nothing about not only their arrival but also:

  • the horrific number of accidents that were happening daily,
  • the number of drunks on scooters,
  • the inability of police to identify drivers of unidentified scooters,
  • the horrendous cost solving these problems imposes on taxpayers.

When the City ignored repeated pleas to enforce its regulations to protect the safety of pedestrians and as affected citizens became aware of each other, Safe Walkways was established in June of 2018 as a Facebook group. Later a similar group was established on social media site Nextdoor. Today the combined membership of the groups is around 600 and growing. Use the icons at the bottom of each page to join us.

Our fight for SAFE walkways has been a fight to:

  • change the Municipal Code to get scooter rental operations in the street not on sidewalks.
  • prevent scooters being left on sidewalks
  • get the companies to immediately remove scooters left on sidewalks, and,
  • impound those they don't
  •  use enforcement about how scooters must be driven:
    • scooters must not be driven on  sidewalks.
    • under 18s must wear a helmet.
  • get the City to enforce State law:
    • by requiring the companies to:
      • geofence all streets where driving a motorized scooter is illegal.
      • check the renter's drivers license against their appearance.
      • keep children off motorized scooters.
      • eliminate dual riders.
      • follow ADA State and Federal and regulations.
      • prevent scooters from lying on their side and pick them up
  • to help:
    • the mobility impaired who are unable to get where they need to go
    • the blind who fall over scooters and are severely injured
    • pedestrians who are knocked over and injured
    • the ordinary people who are now afraid to go for a walk.

What Was Wrong With The Regulations 2019 - 2022?

From 2018 to mid-2019 there were no regulations governing dockless motorized scooter rental companies. The City created regulations in June 2019 for its new permit scheme.  They were  problematic because:


  • They created two systems for parking of scooters, depending where you were:
    • Downtown scooters could only be parked and staged in city-designated corrals in the street - they may not be parked or staged on sidewalks downtown.
    • Elsewhere scooters had to be staged in city-designated corrals, but, if there was no corral, then they may be staged on the sidewalk in groups of up to four, each group at least forty feet apart.
    • It's a system seemingly designed to create confusion, be self-defeating and be unenforceable. One has to ask how any tourist in San Diego who uses a scooter in Pacific Beach say, where it's staged on the sidewalk and may be parked on the sidewalk, is supposed to know that when they visit downtown they are not allowed to do that.
    • The next problem stemed from that dual system.


  • Throughout most of the City of San Diego, the regulations legitimized parking scooters on sidewalks, but:
  • When scooters are staged on sidewalks, users then inevitably drive them on sidewalks - they do not activate them and then wheel them into the street, and,
  • When users see scooters staged on sidewalks, the naturally assume they may park them there.


  • The City almost entirely relied on reports submitted to it by citizens via its Get-It-Done app and those only related to parking issues. It handed those off to the companies essentially assuming that they can "self-manage" the problems they create.
  • The City also has a feed from an Australian data-management company, Populus, it has contracted to handle the data he operators are required to provide. This provides information again only relevant to parking. It does nothing to monitor moving violations.
  • Similarly nothing was done to determine that the claims the companies make about their benefits in fighting climate change or as a safe alternative to car travel are true.
    • The regulations also did not require that the companies provide any evidence that they are reducing carbon emissions - our analysis and that of others indicates that the rental industry actually increases them.
    • Likewise they did not require the companies to provide information or evidence of their safety. The City has a Vision Zero goal of reducing deaths on the roads to zero. Since their arrival rental scooters have been associated with a number of deaths and thus the industry undermined achievement of the Vision Zero goal.


  • The City initially gave the companies three hours to deal with a parking violation IF the City reports it to the company.
    • This was not from the time the violation occurred but from the time the City reported it to the rental company. These reports are simply the reports submitted by citizens who see a parking problem. Yet the rental companies are given information about which of their vehicles are in violation from the moment a user ends a ride because they send a photo of the vehicle to the company when they end the rental.
    • After three hours the City may impound the scooter, but the City only employed a service to do that impounding for a few hours a day and they did barely none.
    • In 2022 the City reduced this three hour grace period to one hour.


  • Although the regulations require the companies to slow their vehicles on a few walkways they do not require the rental companies to apply the same technology to prevent motorized scooters being driven on streets where doing so is illegal, (i.e. all streets faster than 25mph and without a class 2 or 4 bike lane).
  • State law prohibits sidewalk driving, dual driving, underage driving and driving without a license, yet the City's regulations did nothing to require the companies to ensure those prohibitions were effected until 2022 and the SDPD issued virtually no citations for such moving violations.
  • The City Parking Enforcement officers are not enabled to issue parking tickets to the rental companies when say a fallen scooter is blocking a dropped curb at a crossing, thus barring someone in a wheelchair.
  • Unlike other cities San Diego does not require the companies to pass on to the users any fines it imposes on them for say blocking a disabled parking space or drop ramp at a crossing.
  • The regulations did not require labels against dual riding nor that the scooters display a unique identifier that is easily read at a distance until 2022.

Our paper stating the problems the industry creates and solutions for them were provided to the City in 2021.

2022: Contracts For A City Shared Mobility Device Program

The Request For Proposals

In November 2021, with a new Mayor and members of Council in office, the City announced it was taking a different approach. It issued a Request For Proposals, (RFP), seeking companies to provide Shared Mobility Device, (SMD), services city-wide under contracts. A SMD can be a motorized scooter or bike, an e-bike or a number of other device types, available in the public domain to rent by the public using an app. The RFP stated that the City wanted to make a wide range of types of devices available to the public, e.g. cargo bikes to carry things, and trikes, so that the elderly would feel stable.

The RFP contracts were to be for three years initially, extendable for a further two years. There would be a limit on the number of operators to a maximum of four. The total number of devices was to be limited to a maximum of 8,000, down from 14,500 in the last half year of the permit scheme.

The End of Dockless

Significantly the new contract approach also prohibited the staging and parking of motorized scooters on sidewalks anywhere in the city, (not just downtown), and requires the companies to ensure that driving them on sidewalks is also prevented. These represented significant improvements as they reflect the achievement of our goal to get scooters off sidewalks.

In their proposals the companies to a greater or lesser degree promised the City that they had effective sidewalk driving detection technology and would provide a range of vehicles for rent by the public.

You can view the publicly available versions of the proposals of the selected companies: Bird, Lime, Link Part 1 and Part 2 and Spin.

August 2022 To November 2023: City SMD Program Collapses

Council modified the Municipal Code to require parking in corrals city-wide and four operators were selected to operate the City's SMD program. Lyft was one of the four but dropped out and removed their scooters. They were replaced by Bird which had not initially been selected. The other three operators were Lime, Link and Spin.

All the successful operators made claims in their proposals about their ability to detect and prevent sidewalk driving but Lime left saying they couldn’t comply. Link was told to leave by the City.  Bird suffered a significant loss of their scooters which were stolen and taken across the border to Tijuana. They replaced them with older models which were not as appealing to both thieves and riders. The older models did not have the sidewalk detection and prevention technology required by the City. Spin was acquired by Bird in 2023 leaving Bird as the sole operator in the City SMD program but then Bird filed for bankruptcy so by November 2023 the City's SMD program had collapsed and no dockless motorized scooters were available for rent.

November 2023 To January 2024: Proposals To "Entice" Scooter Companies Back

Kent Lee, a new member of the SD Council elected in November 2022, who took his seat in January 2023, presented proposals based on requests made by various scooter rental companies including Lime. These were to roll back the safety provisions put in place by Council the previous year. For instance to:

  • End the curfew that reduced drunk driving
  • Replace multiple license checks that made it difficult for kids to rent scooters and require only one.
  • Have scooters only emit an audible warning instead of being slowed to 3mph if driven on a sidewalk.

These proposals went to Council in January 2024, an election year. We presented arguments against them to all members of Council - see our presentation about sidewalk driving, the misleading information given Council Members about greenhouse gas emissions savings and our press release. At the Council meeting some Council Members indicated their opposition and concerns. That was sufficient for CM Lee to withdraw the proposals for further consideration.

February 2024 Onwards

Currently the City's SMD program has no motorized scooters and no operators and many pedestrians, especially in the beach communities and downtown, have expressed their relief and feeling of greater safety when they go for a walk. However CM Lee has the right to propose to Council at some future date that the safety measures be reversed. Thus a Sword of Damocles hangs over that sense of relief. It may not last.

Why "Safe Walkways" And Not "Safe Sidewalks"?

The answer is that people walk in many more places than sidewalks including:

  • promenades,
  • plazas,
  • paths,
  • trails,
  • alleys, and,
  • boardwalks,

to name just a few and all of which we have here in San Diego. We think "Safe Walkways" covers more ground and believe it or not, though rental scooters create problems on sidewalks they also create them in all those other places too.


How About A Walk Along The Boardwalk Honey?

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