Scoot vehicles cruise through legal loophole

By : sfexminer – excerpt

We Scooped the Scoot story a while ago.

This week’s question comes from James in the Sunset, who asks:

Q: “My girlfriend has a Vespa, and we want to go riding together. I have seen these Scoot vehicles riding all over town. I looked online and have some questions about renting one of these things. I don’t have a motorcycle license and don’t have motorcycle insurance. I have zero experience riding a motorcycle or scooter. I also weigh 265 pounds. What happens if I rent one of these things and get into an accident or if it gets knocked over by someone? What are my rights and responsibilities?”

A: James, thanks for raising this question. You have caused me to learn more about Scoot, and some of what I read has me concerned. First, for the uninformed, Scoot is in the business of short-term rental of electric scooters. Scoot offers two models: the Scoot, with a small cargo box, and the Cargo, with a 90-liter cargo box that they say has enough space to fit six six-packs, four pizzas or 30 pints of ice cream…

Scoot’s vehicles apparently fall under the definition of a “motorized scooter” under California Vehicle Code, which defines a motorized scooter as any two-wheeled device that has handlebars, a floorboard designed to be stood upon when riding and powered by an electric motor that cannot achieve speeds greater than 30 miles per hour. This device may also have a driver seat that does not interfere with the ability of the rider to stand and ride and may also be designed to be powered by human propulsion…

Scoot membership does not require a motorcycle license. The DMV website states that while motorized scooters do not require a motorcycle license, motor-driven cycles — those powered by an engine 149 cc or less; think Vespa — do. Given its style and design, Scoot resembles a motor-driven cycle more than a motor scooter. But apparently because it is electric and has a floorboard big enough to stand on, they are apparently riding through this loophole…

As Scoot members do not have to have a motorcycle license, they do not have to demonstrate an ability to ride a scooter before taking one of these cute little potential death traps out for a spin. A new member must either do an in-person tutorial or watch an online 20-minute instructional video. To me, a video is inadequate training, which I think creates some liability for Scoot. I can assure you that if you are injured by the fault of another riding a Scoot, the defense will be that you had inadequate knowledge of how to operate one…

Scoot’s vehicles apparently fall under the definition of a “motorized scooter” under California Vehicle Code, which defines a motorized scooter as any two-wheeled device that has handlebars, a floorboard designed to be stood upon when riding and powered by an electric motor that cannot achieve speeds greater than 30 miles per hour. This device may also have a driver seat that does not interfere with the ability of the rider to stand and ride and may also be designed to be powered by human propulsion.

According to its website, Scoot membership does not require a motorcycle license. The DMV website states that while motorized scooters do not require a motorcycle license, motor-driven cycles — those powered by an engine 149 cc or less; think Vespa — do. Given its style and design, Scoot resembles a motor-driven cycle more than a motor scooter. But apparently because it is electric and has a floorboard big enough to stand on, they are apparently riding through this loophole.

As Scoot members do not have to have a motorcycle license, they do not have to demonstrate an ability to ride a scooter before taking one of these cute little potential death traps out for a spin. A new member must either do an in-person tutorial or watch an online 20-minute instructional video. To me, a video is inadequate training, which I think creates some liability for Scoot. I can assure you that if you are injured by the fault of another riding a Scoot, the defense will be that you had inadequate knowledge of how to operate one.

As someone who rode minibikes, scooters, mopeds and eventually motorcycles for 40 years, I can tell you that operating a two-wheeled vehicle is much more precarious than one with four wheels. I recommend that anyone who wants to ride a motorized two-wheel vehicle take an approved motorcycle rider safety course…(more)

Thanks for some legal clarification. We haven’t seen many of these around. These two were parked on 17th Street near Potrero and one was parked on 17th near the 280 overpass. They appear to be popular with people living in or near homeless encampments. Are people who don’t own two-wheeled vehicles expected to purchase or rent a helmet?

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New plan to ban encampments at ‘Hairball’ emerges as homeless and cyclists clash

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Freeway2

City officials are exploring ways to remove encampments from the “Hairball” to address the growing number of clashes there between cyclists and homeless people…

The new parking restrictions and bike lane are the first steps among dramatic changes by city officials coming to the Hairball, as bicyclists and people living on the streets increasingly clash…

Peggy Howse, owner and president of All Seas Wholesale, a fish distributor located on Jerrold Avenue said… parking restrictions on Jerrold Avenue may hurt her workers, who travel from as far as Antioch and already battle for parking with nearby RVs…

But in an SFMTA board meeting on Sept. 21, staff said parking restrictions on nearby Barneveld Avenue were put in place to ensure nearby employees could fairly compete with RVs for parking.

Leave it to SFMTA to claim that by eliminating parking spaces they are making parking more available by forcing more competition for parking spaces. Not sure which of the new math programs they studied where subtraction equals more not less, but, most of us live in the real work where subtracting gets us less not more.

Some vitriol from local cyclists has emerged on social media and among the cycling community, concerning the Hairball and its tent-living residents. Cyclists also often vent frustration alleging they’re targets of theft for “chop-shops” run at homeless encampments… (more)

Given the constant nasty comments on social media and the new lack of civility in San Francisco you might want to consider who is moving here and why you may prefer less of them. People used to move here because they loved San Francisco the way it was. Now they come to get rich and change it.
Plan Bay Area forecasts elimination of 40% of the middle class. For that plan to happen, middle class citizens will leave or become extremely rich or extremely poor. Think about that next time you consider who you want to represent you at City Hall. Ask them how they feel about the Plan Bay Area.

Union Street Merchants upset with Van Ness BRT project

by John Zipperer : marinatimes – excerpt

The ongoing Van Ness Transit Corridor Improvement Project has a clumsy name only a bureaucrat could love, and many merchants on Union Street definitely don’t love one of the project’s features: the loss of a left-turn onto Union Street from Van Ness. They say it has hurt business on their street because of a loss of traffic; drivers on Van Ness just find it easier to drive onward and shop elsewhere. One idea being mooted is seeking about $1.5 million in compensation from the city for their loss of business…

Karnilowicz doesn’t know what will happen regarding compensation, but the situation is not going to go away. He points to a presentation by the city’s Controller’s Office, which studied the impact on local businesses of similar construction projects by measuring the change in sales taxes; in one, West Portal, there was a 12 percent drop in sales tax. “That’s like a 12 percent [decline] in income,” Karnilowicz says; for some businesses, “that’s what their profit margin is.”…(more)

Just say NO to more taxes next time SFMTA comes begging for more. Merchants and pissed off residents who want to live and work in San Francisco should continue opposing tax increases for transit projects to send a clear message to City Hall that they are fed up with streetscape projects. Send letters and comments and complaints to your supervisor and the candidates running for office. Make sure they hear your demands for a freeze on new construction until the current projects are completed. Don’t be shy with your state reps either. Let them know you don’t buy the “we need more money for transit” line when you see more streets being torn up every day. City contacts: https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/san-francisco-officials/
State contacts: https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/state-legislators/