The trendy, contentious electric scooters will make their Sacramento debut this week.
A city spokesperson confirmed on Monday that Jump — the Uber-owned company responsible for the hundreds of bright-red electric bikes on streets throughout Sacramento, West Sacramento and Davis — plans to deliver new “e-scooters” any day now.
“They’re looking to bring in about 50 at the end of this week,” explained Jennifer Donlon-Wyant, a specialist with the city who focuses on active transportation issues.
The e-scooters have been praised as an eco-friendly means of transportation in urban areas. But there are critics: from business owners and pedestrians who lament how they often block sidewalks to physicians claiming an uptick in head injuries caused by high-speed crashes.
The Jump e-scooters can travel up to 15 miles-per-hour. It is illegal under California law to ride any scooters on the sidewalk, however, and while Sacramento’s agreement with Jump allows them to operate, they cannot leave scooters blocking sidewalks.
“At this point, they [the scooters] can’t be locked, but city regulations do require that they be parked at a bike rack,” Wyant explained.
The city is currently working on updated regulations for the e-scooters and bikes, which they call “shared ridables. The amended rules include charging companies a fine of $15 every time a device is parked improperly, a penalty that would presumably be passed along to the user.
The fines are just a proposal for now; a city committee will take up the issue and other new regulations during a committee meeting on Tuesday.
Equity is also a big component of the city's new proposed rules, including a staff plan that would require companies to place more bikes in "opportunity areas,” such as underserved communities and along transit corridors.
The city also wants to have companies debut scooters in phases, so that hundreds of them don't arrive at once and overwhelm Midtown and downtown.
Wyant says Sacramento is currently in discussions with multiple vendors who want to bring more scooters and e-bikes to the city. “We’ve been talking to Bird, to Lime, to Skip, to Scoot. There’s a whole number of them,” she said.
“It’s pretty exciting, it’s a new way of moving people around. And if we can find ways to move people other than their single occupancy vehicle, I think this is a good thing,” Wyant added.
Where to park all these new toys? The city wants to build its own locations, and then charge e-bike and scooter companies fees to pay for construction of the parking docks.
If the amendments to the city’s shared rideables ordinances passes City Council in March, the new rules would go into effect this April.