Disability Rights California, an advocacy group, is suing scooter companies in San Diego alleging them of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. According to the group, Bird and Lime-electric scooter companies that recently put thousands of rentable, dockless, electric scooters across US cities over the last year- are obstructing sidewalks thereby making them dangerous for people, especially those with mobility and sight disabilities. Disability Rights California is also suing the City of San Diego for failing to maintain accessible sidewalks, and that it has been unable to keep them clear from “an onslaught of unregulated dockless scooters.”
The lawsuit was also supported by three disabled San Diego residents stating that “the scooter defendants have used and appropriated varying portions of the City’s public sidewalks, crosswalks, transit stops, curb ramps, pedestrian crossings, and other walkways, by allowing dockless scooters and [sic] used primarily for recreational purposes to proliferate unchecked,” a newspaper report ran.
Bob Frank, a lawyer for Neil, Dymott Attorneys, the firm which filed the case said, “The scooter companies have treated our free public walkways as their own private rental offices, showrooms, and storage facilities. People with disabilities need to have access to city sidewalks and their needs must come first.”
While they have only been around for little over a year, electric scooters have been incredibly popular with the youth. Bird, Lime, Lyft, Uber, Razor etc are just a few of the dozen companies that have launched the vehicles in more than 100 US cities. Along with their popularity, also grew their hatred, while some people love to zoom around on the vehicles, several others find them a menace. Many complaints have been registered against the scooters, saying they’ve tripped on scooters or been sideswiped by riders. Others include complaints against riders stating they don’t follow the laws of the road, endangering pedestrians as well as leaving the scooters wherever they wish to, leading to blockage and obstruction of sidewalks, parking spots, bike racks and whee, chair accesses. This lawsuit is not the first of its kind. Just earlier this month, a citizen from Austin sued Bird after he tripped on a scooter lying on the sidewalk.
So far, Bird has not made any comments on the lawsuit. Meanwhile, a Lime spokesman said the company will not comment on pending litigation however he added that, ” public safety has always been at the very core of everything we do at Lime. From Lime’s ‘Respect the Ride’ campaign, which is focused on educating riders on responsible riding, to our development of built-in sensor technology to detect if a rider is abiding by local riding laws, we are committed to keeping our communities safe for everyone.”
In light of recent events, San Diego is considering reforming its scooter laws to lower maximum speed limits in certain neighborhoods. The new law might require scooter companies to share data, including fleet sizes, which is currently an unknown and require individual scooters to carry signage that will remind riders not to ride on sidewalks.