The city of San Diego joins dockless scooter companies Bird (Bird Rides, Inc.), Lime (Neutron Holdings, Inc.) and Razor USA as the defendants in a proposed class action lawsuit filed over alleged Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) violations with regard to the city’s sidewalks, curb ramps, crosswalks and transit stops.
Dockless scooters, the use of which can be purchased by riders through a mobile app, have becomepopular yet much malignedin some cities due in part to the very allegations detailed in the complaint. According to the lawsuit, individuals with mobility impairments are denied their right to travel freely and safely on public walkways because it’s common for dockless scooters to be left in the middle of sidewalks and other paths of travel when not in use. Moreover, when scooters are in use, the case stresses, riders often ride on sidewalks, “turning the sidewalk into a vehicle highway rather than a place for safe pedestrian access and use.” From the lawsuit:
“Perhaps even more dangerous, Scooter Defendants enable or recklessly allow Scooter Customers to drive Scooters at speeds much faster than the speed of foot traffic through the system of sidewalks, crosswalks, curb ramps, transit stops, pedestrian crossings and other walkways, despite the California Vehicle Code's prohibition against operation of a motorized scooter upon the sidewalks. Effectively, the practice turns the systems of sidewalks into a Scooter highway.
Once a Scooter Customer is done using the Scooter, Scooter Defendants permit and/or recklessly enable the Scooter Customers to leave the Scooters anywhere the user may see fit, as part of their ‘dockless’ business model—typically, idle Scooter [sic] end up on public property in the system of sidewalks, crosswalks, transit stops, curb ramps, pedestrian crossings and other walkways, either on the ground, parked upright or left resting sideways blocking portions of the systems of sidewalks and rights of way. Groups of Scooters may be discarded in close proximity, causing a blockade and diminishing full use of the sidewalks for pedestrians.”
The 30-page case charges that rather than comply with the ADA, the defendants have failed to “maintain and respect” San Diego’s public walkways in a manner conducive to disabled residents having unencumbered access.
“People with disabilities who wish to travel in the City using the City's walkways are being forced to either put their physical safety at risk or just stay home,” the lawsuit reads. “This is not a choice they should have to make.”