The Goleta City Council is gearing up to consider whether to put the brakes on the rogue motorized scooters that have hit the community like a Mack truck. 

On Tuesday night at Goleta City Hall, the council is scheduled to vote on whether to adopt an urgency ordinance that would ban shared on-demand motorized scooters in Goleta. The scooters could not be used, placed or operated in the public right-of-way or on public property.

City officials say they have been bombarded by emails and phone calls in opposition to the scooters.

“Scooters are littering our streets and lawns,” Goleta resident Curtis Rhodes wrote. “It is all driven by short-term private greed. These opportunistic parasite companies have no interest in engaging with communities to solve real environmental issues. They are part of the problem, not the solution.”

Goleta resident Tristan Smith wrote: “They are ugly, and there are way too many of them. If a company wants to open up a storefront where you can rent them, or have some type of delivery service then that would be different. I don’t feel that public property should be taken up with these eyesores. Not to mention, they constantly block sidewalks and impede people using strollers, wheelchairs, etc.”

Storke Ranch resident Karen Togno was more blunt: “Please, ban these dangerous vehicles from our streets. Someone is going to get killed. Don’t wait — ban them now before it gets any worse.”

The two companies that brought scooters in Goleta, Bird and Lime, are well-funded venture capital startups that have a pattern of dropping the vehicles in communities unannounced, essentially asking for forgiveness, not permission. At a cost of $1 a mile, the companies make money from users while cities scramble to find a way to regulate the devices. Lime attempted to drop the scooters in Santa Barbara six months ago, but the city swiftly impounded the machines and then passed a ban on them. 

From New York to Los Angeles and many points in between, the scooters have roiled communities and served as a flashpoint of the latest impacts of the so-called “shared economy.” Whether it’s people renting out their homes through Airbnb, or people using their personal vehicles to give people rides through Uber, companies have cut their costs and raised their profits by persuading consumers to use their own property to help businesses succeed. Even with the scooter, so-called “juicers” collect the vehicles in their own pickup trucks at night, charge them at their own homes and then redistrbute them in the morning — earning between $100 and $150. 

“I have never seen an issue that has brought so many comments from so many people throughout the community, and 99 percent of them have been negative,” Councilman Roger Aceves said.

Aceves, a retired police detective, said the scooters are a public safety issue. He has seen adults riding the scooters, with little children holding on, and wearing no helmets.

In just a few blocks of Fairview Avenue, Aceves said he counted 35 scooters parked on the sidewalks. 

“You cannot conduct your business in the public right-of-way without permission,” Aceves said. “You have to get permission, and these guys didn’t even try.”

The city of Goleta received more than 100 emails regarding the scooters, and even some letters in support.

Justin Russak said he is a “charger” for Bird and Lime. He blames the people who use the vehicles for the problems.

“Simple riders should have some standards of where they drop off their scooter, and I will advocate for that, but I urge against a knee-jerk response by older residents that simple (sic) don’t understand,” Russak wrote, adding that the scooters are “a very positive thing for our community.”

Many of the other letters in support of scooters contained exact langage, indicating they shared parts of form letter in their individual letters. 

The Camino Real Marketplace, one of the city’s central shopping and cultural hubs, disagrees and opposes the unregulated scooters.

“The Camino Real Marketplace has absolutely observed an impact as a result of the Bird scooters,” wrote Kendall Allison, office and marketing manager. “We are hoping that the city will evaluate the situation with businesses, like our shopping center in mind. Our drive aisles are not a safe place for scooters, and our sidewalks and walkways are reserved for pedestrian use. Because we cannot provide a safe path of travel for these scooters, we are considering banning them from the property. The Camino Real Marketplace is a high-volume shopping center, and we want to continue to maintain a safe and secure environment for our patrons.” 

The proposed urgency ordinance is set to go before the Goleta City Council during its 6 p.m. meeting on Tuesday. 

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Joshua Molina

Joshua Molina, Noozhawk Staff Writer

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at