Bike and Scooter Parking & Riding Rules
San Diego is the latest city to be home to the bike and scooter sharing market. Popular among tourists and eco-conscious individuals as a means of transportation, these vehicles are also causing headaches to San Diego residents and businesses alike. To address this issue, San Diego’s municipal government has shared rules and regulations regarding the new parking and riding culture.
The California Vehicle Code
Several state provisions govern dockless bikes and scooters throughout California. More of these regulations are applicable to motorized scooters than bikes.
- Operators may not park dockless bikes in a way that could block pedestrian traffic. In addition, riders cannot leave bikes lying in the middle of a sidewalk.
- Anyone operating a motorized scooter is subject to the same rules that govern drivers of motor vehicles. For example, someone operating a scooter cannot be under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
- Anyone arrested for operating a motorized scooter while under the influence is subject to a breathalyzer or blood test. In addition, there could be a fine of up to $250.
- Anyone driving a motorized scooter on the highway must have a headlight, a red back reflector, and two yellow side reflectors. These reflectors and lights are subject to additional requirements.
- A local authority has the power to regulate registration, parking, and operation of motorized scooters on sidewalks, bike lanes, and on local streets and highways.
- Motorized scooters should be able to brake, and drivers should be able to turn off the engine.
- Operators of motorized scooters must have valid licenses or permits and safety equipment, such as helmets.
- Operators of motorized scooters may not ride with any passengers, attach themselves to another vehicle and ride along, or park their scooters in ways that obstruct pedestrian traffic.
- Unless local authorities say otherwise, riders can operate motorized scooters on bike paths and trails.
San Diego’s Municipal Code
The California Vehicle Code gives certain powers to local authorities, including municipal governments (for instance, city of San Diego). In addition to the state regulations, the city has several additional rules governing dockless bike and motorized scooter use.
- Bicyclists and motorized scooter riders may not solicit in San Diego public parks and beaches without permission.
- Bicyclists cannot ride in areas unless there is a designated bike path or lane or posted bike-riding authorization. Bicyclists can ride on streets and park roads as well, unless otherwise posted.
- Motorized scooters cannot ride on roads “designated for automotive traffic,” or city streets.
- Those renting bicycles and motorized scooters to others cannot do so in a San Diego beach area without written consent from the city.
- Motorized scooters and bicycles may not obstruct sidewalks, alleys, streets, or other public walkways.
Additional Considerations for Dockless Bikes and Scooters
These state and municipal rules dictate what bikes and scooters cannot do in and around San Diego streets, beaches, parks, and residential areas. Bicyclists and motorized scooter renters must consider several factors while operating these vehicles around the city.
- Renters may not park bicycles and scooters in an area that encroaches upon a public park or beach. Authorities may remove them.
- Renters must park bicycles or scooters in places where they do not block the public right of way. This prohibits leaving a bike or scooter on the sidewalk or the street. Usually, the rental company will supply docking racks throughout the city for renters.
- Renters can ride bikes and scooters through parks and beaches where the city has explicitly authorized bike riding.
- Renters cannot ride bikes on sidewalks in front of businesses, unless explicitly authorized.
- Rules prohibit motorized scooters on sidewalks under any circumstances.
Enjoy the San Diego sun with these convenient vehicles but stay safe and follow the law. If any issues with bike or scooter sharing within the city arise, renters should contact the San Diego Police Department.