[By JOSHUA EMERSON SMITH]
— As of Saturday, electric scooters are banned along the San Diego boardwalk from Mission Bay to La Jolla.
San Diego police officers will enforce the restrictions, which extend to all shared mobility devices, issuing warnings for the first 30 days and then citations thereafter.
Scooter companies, such as Lime and Bird, which have opposed the ban, will now be required to use geofencing technology to slow their devices down to 3 mph in the boardwalk areas to discouraging riding. The prohibition will not apply to motorized devices for the disabled.
The city has started posting signs along the boardwalk warning beachgoers of the ban.
The City Council voted 5-4 in December to approve the restrictions, which were spearheaded by Councilwoman Barbara Bry.
The ban follows a sustained outcry from beach communities about the dangers of e-scooters, which can travel up to 15 mph. A number of people are been seriously injured throughout the city riding the devices, including several fatalities.
Police officers had not been enforcing the 8 mph speed limit along the boardwalk using radar guns because the city has not done a state-required speed study for the area. Authorities said that they have had to rely on identifying speeders visually.
Areas off limits to motorized riders include the boardwalks in Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, Mission Bay Park, Bayside Walk and La Jolla Shores.
The new ban comes after the city imposed a suite of other regulations on dockless scooter companies last July. The rules required companies to limit speeds in a number of other locations, such as Balboa Park.
Scooter companies have complained that such rules have significantly impacted ridership, which fell sharply last year, according to city data.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has also proposed instituting a midnight curfew on e-scooters. The council has yet to take up the proposal, which includes a number of other changes to the regulations approved last summer.