Scooters flying up and down San Francisco sidewalks is a new phenomenon that, frustratingly, is all too common during rush hour. While many folks moved to San Francisco to live in a walkable city, others seem bothered by our molasses-like pedestrian ways. So much so, in fact, that they have taken to our sidewalks on Razors, hoverboards, or electronic unicycles. And this is illegal.
For starters, this is dangerous to pedestrians. South of Market blocks are famously long, which is part of the neighborhood's charm, but the need to zip back and forth from the Caltrain station to Market Street in record time on wheeled doohickeys has proven to be a problem in the neighborhood.
Most recently, we witnessed a pedestrian get smacked by a scooter rider on Third Street near Harrison. Alas, this is not a rare occurrence.
As far as the law goes, let's get granular: Transit code classifies Razors or motorized scooters as Non-motorized User-propelled Vehicles (NUVs). This means that any device of two or more wheels lacking a belt, chain, or additional gears that is powered via the rider through pedals or by pushing off the ground. (This could include anything from in-line skates and roller-skates to kick/push scooters or skateboards.) According to California Vehicle Code, adults (i.e., anyone over the age of 13) can be cited for riding these on sidewalks, similar to to way cyclists get dinged for similar infractions. (See: SF Transportation Code section 7.2.12.)
Regarding motorized scooters, they are just plain wrong on sidewalks. Per CVC Safe Operation of Electric Personal Assisted Mobility Device (EPAMD): "A person shall not person shall not operate an EPAMD on a sidewalk, bike bath, pathway, trail, bike lane, street, road, or highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, pedestrians, and other conveyance traffic on, and the surface, width, and condition of, the sidewalk, bike bath, pathway, trail, bike lane, street, road, or highway."
Curbed SF talked to SFPD who explained how much these transgressions could cost: Base fine for EPAMD infraction, should you get caught, is $150-$275 (with court fees). Fine for riding your non-motorized vehicles on sidewalks is $200.
No word yet as to what the fine is for riding your Razor on the BART platform. Ahem: