Motorized Scooters

Motorized Scooters (Photo credit: R. Del Rosario/KCBS Radio)

Electric Scooter Companies Grab A Foothold In Campbell

KCBS Radio Afternoon News
October 06, 2018 - 5:00 am

In the latest front in the fight over e-scooters, the small Silicon Valley city of Campbell essentially declared a truce this week with the makers of the controversial devices. 

The city council decided against a temporary ban and instead council members opted to form a committee that will work with the companies and create regulations to address residents’ concerns. 

The decision came about a month after residents woke to find their streets teeming with dozens of the rentable electric scooters from industry leaders Lime and Bird. 

The sudden appearance of the upright, app-activated devices angered many, who said that they were not given any notice beforehand and that the scooters block sidewalks and create safety hazards.

It’s a story that’s become all too familiar to other cities around the Bay Area, like San Francisco and Oakland, which have struggled to find a place for dockless scooters on their crowded streets and sidewalks. During this week’s Campbell City Council meeting, residents who oppose them showed up in force.

“I see two, three people riding on these things on the sidewalk. It’s lawlessness,” said a resident during the public comment period, adding that he feels the city is too small to handle them.

The scooter companies found support from Councilman Jeffrey Cristina. 

He expressed hope “that we can continue to use these scooters and improve the quality of life of our residents, as well as taking cars off the road.”

For its part, Bird has offered to modify its service locally and activate a feature that remotely slows the scooters in designated zones

In a statement, Lime said that the scooters that appeared in Campbell were taken there by riders and not deployed by the company.

Mayor Paul Resnikoff said he'll work will work with the companies, although he had voted for the temporary ban.

“There’s just the feeling of the way they were dumped on the city, kind of with no warning," he said. "I think this would have all been avoided had the companies come to us first."

Bird and Lime have been excluded from operating in San Francisco. There, city officials selected companies Scoot and Skip for a pilot program to re-introduce the scooters. The city had issued cease-and-desist orders to Lime, Bird and Spin, ordering them to remove their scooters in June

But the new pilot program has itself become mired in controversy, after Lime accused the SFMTA of unfairly excluding them — a move that many saw as punishment for their “ask for forgiveness, not permission” rollout.

Reporting by Keith Menconi.

Written by Jordan Bowen.