Bird Makes The Decision to Leave San Diego
Bird, the last remaining scooter company operating in San Diego, has announced it will no longer be doing business in the city. The scooter company was the last man standing out of the four major scooter companies who had electric scooters powered by an app. Bird stated its reasons for leaving the city were due to it having very tight restrictions, as well as high theft given its vicinity to the border. In addition, many people who liked commuting on the electric scooters purchased their own, which was the more convenient and economical route in the long run. San Diego lawmakers are now proposing to loosen some of the restrictions in place, such as the 3 mph speed-throttling limitation on sidewalks. On November 8th, 2023, the City Council’s “Active Transportation and Infrastructure Committee” voted to approve the proposal, in an effort to lure scooter companies back.
There are currently about 950 parking corrals for scooters across the city that are now obsolete. The city also has a contract with a 3rd party scooter enforcement company, which now has nothing to enforce.
San Diego officials are optimistic that Bird, along with similar companies, will be returning to the city. They feel like these restrictions need to loosen a bit to make it more appealing for scooter companies to operate in the city. While the city feels the return of these scooter companies is a benefit providing alternative transportation in dense locations, many residents disagree.
Why were the scooters so controversial?
The scooters were one of the most controversial topics in Downtown San Diego when they were first introduced. Supporters felt it was a convenient way to get across town and found it to be fun. Opponents didn’t like irresponsible riders, the mess they made on our sidewalks and streets, or the large number of people riding around the city. The city made an attempt to appeal to both parties, but I do not think there was a win-win situation in the cards. Many of the residents in Downtown San Diego that I have spoken to about the topic will be happy they are gone. They created a mess and caused safety concerns for not only the rider but for pedestrians. I’ve personally seen a handful of people crash, fall, or even run into pedestrians by riding irresponsibly. Time will tell if the City of San Diego makes it more enticing for the scooter companies or if the loosening of restrictions will be enough, but for now, I know many residents will be happy they are gone.