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    Shared Bicycle and Scooter Services Can Benefit Bay Area Cities If Responsibly Regulated

    By Rebecca Kaplan, Oakland City Councilmember At-Large–

    As Oakland’s citywide elected Councilmember, who also serves on the countywide Transportation Commission, I recently proposed that Oakland adopt regulations for shared bicycle and scooter services. These services, which often involve bicycles or scooters being made available by being placed in public locations, can be a benefit to the community and help with health and mobility if done correctly. However, if done incorrectly, these bicycles and scooters can have negative impacts by blocking wheelchairs and pedestrians, cluttering sidewalks, and becoming blight.

    San Francisco is struggling with unregulated scooter rentals crowding sidewalks as well, and the Board of Supervisors’ Land Use and Transportation Committee recently heard regulations that would prohibit dockless powered scooter rental companies from operating in San Francisco without a permit. If approved by the Board, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency would develop a permitting program similar to the one approved last year for dockless electric bicycles.

    In order to make sure that we can have good mobility options for everyone in our community, it is important that these new share services be properly regulated, provide affordable rates, include local jobs and reliable local maintenance teams, and be regulated to benefit the public. We can have useful, affordable shared mobility for our community, with local jobs, without blocking sidewalks or encouraging chaos, by having responsible regulations, which are what I am proposing for Oakland.

    Councilmember At-Large Rebecca Kaplan was elected in 2008 to serve as Oakland’s citywide Councilmember; she was re-elected in 2016.
    She also serves on the Board of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), and as the Chair of the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC).