This week in government overreach… add scooters to the long list of things that are now being needlessly regulated.
In San Francisco, innovative companies like Bird Rides, LimeBike and Spin have deployed electric scooters with location trackers on city sidewalks as a fun and easy way for young people to commute or simply go for a ride.
Seems simple enough, right? But these companies are now facing a major hurdle: government regulation.
The groups’ activity in San Francisco has been temporarily shut down after calls for more regulation by city officials. Earlier this week, San Francisco’s board of supervisors passed a bill forcing electric scooter rental companies to get city permits. This suspends their current activity until they comply.
The arguments made by supporters of more regulation seem a little shaky at best. One of the primary worries has been that there is no way to regulate people riding them on sidewalks or riding without helmets.
Where is the logic here? Are city officials suggesting that bicycles should also be banned from the streets too? There is no way to ensure that those riders are using helmets or not riding on sidewalks. Except for, you know, the police already tasked with enforcing these kinds of rules.
While some city officials are calling these scooters a “public nuisance,” others recognize the potential for positively changing the way San Francisco residents commute. Residents have noted it is an environmentally conscious way to get from one place to another.
Not only are these companies helping young people get around easier, but they are also helping support a growing economy. Bird Rides and LimeBike have raised more than $100 million in the last six months.
It’s ironic that a city like San Francisco, a hub for tech entrepreneurs and start-ups, would choose regulation over innovation.
Instead of overregulating innovative services, cities should embrace the sharing economy and work with tech companies to create further economic growth and value for residents and travelers alike.