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Ord. No. 2019-4. An Emergency Ordinance of the City Council of the City of San Mateo Temporarily Prohibiting the Commercial Operation of Electric Scooter Businesses.

WHEREAS, City Charter Section 2.16 provides that the City Council, to protect public peace health, safety, and welfare, may adopt as an emergency ordinance, an ordinance passed by a majority plus one of the City Council; and

WHEREAS, the City has received interest from commercial operators in operating electric scooter businesses in the City; and

WHEREAS, the commercial operation of electric scooter businesses is designed such that electric scooters are left in place at any location in the City and often within the public right of way; and

WHEREAS, City staff has monitored electric scooter commercial operations in other California communities and noted the following safety issues:

(a) Cities in which electric scooter businesses operate have observed an increase in scooter-related injuries including broken bones, head injuries, and a few fatalities.

(b) Electric scooters can achieve speeds of up to 15 miles per hour and while electric scooters are intended for use on streets they are often operated on sidewalks, which poses a safety threat to pedestrians.

(c) Electric scooters provided by commercial operators are often left in place on the public right of way. Electric scooters are very easily knocked over thus posing a tripping hazard to pedestrians and obstructing the right of way.

WHEREAS, in accordance with City Charter Section 2.16, an emergency ordinance expires on the 91st day after its adoption but may be re-enacted if the emergency still exists; and

WHEREAS, on November 19, 2018 the City Council of the City of San Mateo adopted an emergency ordinance temporarily prohibiting the commercial operation of electric scooter businesses; and

WHEREAS, the emergency ordinance was scheduled to expire on February 17, 2019; and

WHEREAS, on February 4, 2019 the City Council of the City of San Mateo reenacted the emergency for another 90 days; and

WHEREAS, the reenacted emergency ordinance expired on May 5, 2019; and

WHEREAS, staff continues to have concerns regarding the safety of electric scooters for users, pedestrians, and motor vehicles; and

WHEREAS, staff is proposing regulations for shared mobility operators including electric scooter businesses in order to protect public peace, health, safety and welfare; and

WHEREAS, the proposed shared mobility regulations are not yet adopted; and


Section 1.

That the above recitals are true and correct and are adopted as the City Council's findings.

Section 2.

For the immediate presentation of public peace, health, safety, and welfare, pursuant to City Charter Section 2.16, the commercial operation of electric scooter businesses is prohibited while this ordinance remains in effect.

Section 3.

This ordinance is declared to be an emergency measure and interim ordinance adopted pursuant to the provisions of City Charter Section 2.16. As set forth in the findings above, this ordinance is necessary for preserving the public peace, health, safety, and welfare of the community. Accordingly, upon adoption by a majority plus one vote of the City Council, this ordinance shall take effect immediately.

Section 4.

That this ordinance is adopted by at least a 4/5 vote of the City Council.

Section 5.

This ordinance shall of no further force or effect upon the 91st day after its adoption or when the City's shared mobility ordinance and resolution go into effect, whichever comes first.


The City Clerk shall cause this ordinance to be posted in three places designated by City Council and published by title with a brief summary at least once within fifteen (15) days after its adoption in a newspaper of general circulation, published in the County of San Mateo and circulated in the City; shall certify to the adoption of this ordinance and shall cause a certified copy of this ordinance, together with proof of publication, to be filed in the Office of the Clerk of this City.


In the event any section, clause or provision of this Ordinance shall be determined invalid or unconstitutional, such section, clause or provision shall be deemed severable and all other sections or portions hereof shall remain in full force and effect.


In accordance with California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Guidelines section 15061(b)(3), this action is not a project subject to CEQA because it will not result in a potentially significant physical impact on the environment.


This Ordinance was introduced and adopted on May 6, 2019 and shall take effect immediately.

The foregoing ordinance was adopted by the City Council of the City of San Mateo, California by the following vote:

AYES Council Members Papan, Freschet, Goethals and Rodriguez
ABSENT Bonilla


Law Information


  • Ord. No. 2019-4 (PDF)
    City of San Mateo, Cal., Ord. No. 2019-4


May 6, 2019

Legislative History

Ord. No. 2019-4, was introduced and adopted on May 6, 2019, and became effective immediately.