People are vandalizing the scooters taking over San Francisco with everything from stickers to poop

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
  • San Francisco residents are vandalizing electric scooters and in one case, pooping on them.
  • That’s gross.
  • The city has received numerous complaints about the scooters in recent weeks and has already begun impounding scooters parked illegally.

Some activist residents of San Francisco are apparently so outraged by the sight of electric scooters on city streets that they have resorted to extreme measures, including literally pooping on them.

Motherboard reported Tuesday that electric scooters around San Francisco have become targets of vandalization. Scooters have been seen with broken wiring, with stickers covering the QR codes that allow riders to unlock them, thrown into trashcans and, yes, even pooped on.

Kenneth Baer, a Bird spokesperson, told Business Insider in a statement that the company has had “few” problems with theft and vandalism.

“… because all Birds are tracked via GPS, we are able to see where they are at all times. Any time an incident of abuse on our platform is reported, we investigate it thoroughly and are continually working to use technology to improve Bird,” he said.

The scatological scooter sabotage comes as three separate startups – Bird, LimeBikes, and Spin – all recently began placing the two-wheeled vehicles throughout the city. The services all work similarly and bill themselves as environmentally friendly transportation alternatives.

Using a smartphone app, city residents can reserve a nearby scooter, ride around on it for a small fee, and, at the end of the journey, leave the scooter anywhere to be claimed by the next rider. Unlike many bike-sharing programs, the scooters don’t need to be attached to a special dock, so riders can just hop off and walk away.

San Francisco officials say they have received numerous complaints about the scooters, claiming the scooters routinely block footpaths and building entrances, cause people to trip, and make footpaths less accessible to children and people in wheelchairs. Residents have also reported seeing riders on footpaths, which is illegal.

In response to increased public pressure and complaints, the San Francisco City Attorney sent the scooter startups cease-and-desist letters last week, calling scooters public nuisances and a public safety hazard and has begun impounding scooters that are seen illegally parked. The city voted last week to require scooters companies to apply for a permit before operating in the city.

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