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San Antonio Has Removed More Than 100 Dockless Scooters Blocking Rights-of-Way 

click to enlarge A pair of dockless scooters sit on a sidewalk along North St. Mary's Street. - SANFORD NOWLIN
  • Sanford Nowlin
  • A pair of dockless scooters sit on a sidewalk along North St. Mary's Street.
It's not your imagination. Those dockless electric scooters really are cluttering up downtown.

Since Bird — S.A.'s first scooter-sharing company — arrived in late June, the City has removed 110 of the vehicles left in potentially hazardous locations or blocking rights-of-way, according to the Center City Development & Operations office.

That doesn't mean SAPD's been hauling the scooters to its impound lot and demanding loot for their return. Just that authorities have been scooping up the offending rides and returning them to their owners.

"We expect any dockless company that operates in the City to monitor their equipment and to avoid placement in the City’s right-of-way or anywhere that it could create a safety hazard to the public," Center City honcho John Jacks said in an emailed statement. "The City has the right, and has removed, equipment in its rights-of-way, sidewalks, trails and/or trailheads that are identified as obstructions or hazards."

If you've been following arrival of the aforementioned Bird and competitors Lime and Blue Duck, you know those obstructions — along with rider and pedestrian safety — have come up as the City looks to regulate the new technology. Officials have set a September timetable for adopting rules, and they're seeking input via an online survey.

Part of the appeal of the rental scooters is that people can pick them up and drop them off pretty much anywhere, letting commuters to cover the "last mile" between a bus route and a final destination. That benefit aside, it still sucks when one blocks access to a crosswalk, a business' front door or a wheelchair ramp.

Just as regulations often play catch-up with new tech, sometimes courtesy needs to do the same. In other words, just because you can talk on a mobile phone in a movie theater doesn't mean everyone won't call it out as the dick move that it is.

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