Return of the Scooters: Here’s How It Will Affect You


scooter pilot program

Last June, I wrote about my disdain for scooters. Scooter riders left their scooters all over the sidewalk, did not abide by the traffic rules, and never wore helmets. Apparently, I was not alone. Since scooters were unleashed into the city in March, over 1,000 complaints were made to the City’s 311 system. The complaints forced the city to develop a permit process for scooters, as there had not been one prior to March. This eventually led San Francisco to cease all scooter operations until a new permitting process had been put in place. As of Monday, October 15, 2018, scooters are back. Here is everything you need to know.

Two scooter companies

Earlier in the year, several scooter companies, like Lime, Spin, and Lyft, operated in the city. Under the new permit process, only two scooter companies (out of twelve applicants), Scoot and Skip, were awarded the permits to operate in San Francisco’s Scooter Pilot Program. The one-year pilot program enables the two scooter companies to rent out scooters for one year. Assuming the city does not receive complaints and that the two companies abide by the City’s rules, they will be allowed to operate permanently.

New Scooter rules

Speaking of rules, under the Scooter Pilot Program, scooter companies and their riders must abide by a new list of rules, including not riding scooters on sidewalks, not parking scooters in pedestrian walkways, and abiding by local traffic laws. Yes, that includes wearing helmets. A full list of rules is included in the weblink.

Limited neighborhoods

The last aspect of the scooter return is that they will only be allowed in certain parts of the city, primarily in the Financial District, SOMA, Castro, Dogpatch, Mission, and Bayview areas. Scoot was awarded the additional neighborhoods of Excelsior and Golden Gate Park. In the past, electric scooters seemed to be in every neighborhood, including mine.  With the new pilot program, having fewer neighborhoods should ease the congestion on our sidewalks, though I wonder how this will be regulated. What happens when a scooter is found in my neighborhood?

I’m not opposed to other modes of transportation that bring out the kid in each of us, so long as these new modes abide by the traffic rules and take into account the general safety of others — even the companies that run those yellow go-carts have permits and must abide by the same traffic rules. Let’s hope the Scooter Pilot Program succeeds in enabling scooters, pedestrians, and motorists to coexist in the same place. What are your thoughts on the return of the electric scooters?


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Jeanne is a married, full-time working mom with an MBA in Marketing from Golden Gate University and BA in Communications from San Francisco State University. She is an Associate Director of Sales for Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and loves that her career enables her to promote the city she loves. Jeanne and her husband Daniel live in San Francisco with their two daughters, Ilse and Alice. When Jeanne is not working, writing, or volunteering at Ilse's school, she enjoys traveling, spending time with family, and cooking from her collection of cookbooks (70 and growing) while sipping Hudson Bay Bourbon. Follow her adventures on Instagram.



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