Scooter riders in Oakland

Holly Quan/KCBS Radio

Oakland Council Votes to Regulate Scooters

Rules Include Sidewalk Riding Ban, Helmet Requirement

KCBS Radio Morning News
September 18, 2018 - 6:54 am

OAKLAND (KCBS Radio) -- Oakland's City Council Monday night adopted an ordinance designed to provide some structure to the rapidly-changing dockless electric scooter business.

Hundreds of scooters appeared on Oakland streets earlier this summer. Complaints quickly followed. 

"Right now, Oakland is the Wild, Wild West of scooters," said Council member Abel Guillen.

Renata Gray of Oakland complained about the scooters and the people who ride them. "They're reckless, and they're all over the place," Gray told the council.

Council member Larry Reid cast the dissenting vote in a 6-1 decision. He wants the scooters to go away. "Why don't we do it the right way? Why don't we send them cease and desists?," Reid asked.

The ordinance was sponsored by Council member Rebecca Kaplan, who indicated she'd like to have gone farther. Kaplan suggested the city could require the scooter companies to install electronic speed limiters on the two-wheeled battery-powered machines.

The ordinance will require scooter companies to abide by a series of rules, including insuring the scooters are not ridden on sidewalks and that riders wear helmets. In addition, the ordinance requires dockless scooters to be distributed equitably throughout Oakland, with at least half of them placed in Oakland's "communities of concern," areas with high populations of minority and/or low-income residents. 

Actual regulatory language is still being written by city staff, a process that will take another six to eight weeks to complete.