Let’s Discuss: What Can, or Should, West Hollywood Do about Shared Electric Scooters?

Father and daughter riding a scooter in Plummer Park.

So now what?

The West Hollywood City Council passed a law on June 18 barring companies from renting shared electric scooters in WeHo. This past Sunday, a map on the Bird electric scooter app showed dozens of them available for rent on the sidewalks of West Hollywood. A map on the Lime electric scooter app shows a few more. It looks as if Goat, Mobiscoot, Skip and Spin have yet to make it to WeHo.

And of course anyone walking around our city, the 17th most densely populated in the United States, has seen those scooters clicking down the streets and sidewalks and in the parks, with a ridership that appears to be composed largely of millennials.

Scooter riders stopping for a chat on Santa Monica Boulevard.

So the topic up for discussion is “Now What”?

The City Council’s decision was in response to a proposal by the Public Works and Planning and Development Services departments to conduct a six-month test of the shared electric scooter phenomenon in West Hollywood, after which the city could decide whether to embrace them or ban them. Councilmember John D’Amico voted against it, essentially arguing that the scooters were inevitable.  Other council members complained about the scooters being left on sidewalks and being ridden on sidewalks. Councilmember John Heilman was especially upset that Lime dumped many scooters on the sidewalks of West Hollywood, without the city’s permission, in an apparent effort to promote its service.

Even with the ban, it is legal for someone who rents a scooter outside the city limits to ride it into West Hollywood.  Also, private businesses can provide their own spaces for docking such scooters.  Dan Mick, the city’s code compliance supervisor, says it also is legal for WeHo residents who own their own scooters to drive them, so long as they don’t use them on sidewalks.

The proposal would have allowed a maximum of three companies to each locate up to 50 scooters within the city for six months. The companies would be required to share ridership data with the city, which would put restrictions on hours of operation and location of the scooters.  If the city agrees to license shared electric scooters, it would see some revenue.  The City of Santa Monica is considering a plan where scooter companies would pay a licensing fee of $20,000 per year, with a $130 fee per scooter.

Should the West Hollywood City Council reconsider its decision and implement the test suggested by City Hall?

If the city doesn’t allowed shared electric scooters to be rented on the sidewalks of West Hollywood, what can it effectively do to ban them? And how can it let those likely to rent such scooters know that they can’t leave them on WeHo streets and sidewalks when they are finished?

 

A map of Bird scooters from the shared scooter company’s app.

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Susan
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Susan

How nice a man who can afford a Mercedes is saying poor people need to move or get a car.

I’m not poor and I don’t want a car. I spend less on uber and Bird than a car and insurance and the $200 a month to park in my building. Take your privilege elsewhere.

Randy
Guest
Randy

Indeed. I drive 75 miles a month, and in a vehicle that is 18 years old. I gas up about once every 6 weeks, and pay $50 for insurance. I cherish living and working in our neighborhood, where it is so easy to get around by walking, bicycling, buses, trolleys, Uber, and now these scooters. Why would I waste money on a fancy vehicle that I would barely drive? I’d ditch my vehicle all-together, if I didn’t have to make trips to the grocery store, or trips outside of the neighborhood. David, not every person who lives in this city… Read more »

wehoboy
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wehoboy

No on sidewalks, yes in parks. Just be ready for all the head injuries.But that’s life so have fun!

Josh
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Josh

A ban is silly. Regulate them.

Robert Haaga
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Robert Haaga

C’mon people! Keep an open mind. Yes, there needs to be rules and regulations just like there does with cars and bikes, but once established, I can see how these can be very useful and take cars off our already gridlocked streets. I hopped on one the other day for the first time and I am almost 60. Not a millennial lol….. I’m sold. Great fun and a wonderful idea for short hops on those days I may not feel like walking to the gym or Trader Joes. OK, crucify me for not wanting to walk but why not have… Read more »

Wehogigio
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Wehogigio

Better you ban them now before they start rolling around inside the Pavilions with a “service” dog in tow.

EC
Guest
EC

I think they are an amazing idea and they should be embraced and people should be educated on safety and where to ride. Let’s face it, the scooters aren’t the problem, it’s people who are resistant to change and who can’t use common sense while riding. I imagine these could motivate more and more people to leave their car home for short trips to the gym, office, and are an evolutionary step towards better, less expensive, cleaner, personal transportation. I imagine as self driving electric cars are more prolific, less cars will be bought, on the road, and personal vehicles… Read more »

Manny
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Manny

Hey I have an idea for short trips to the gym or office……how about WALKING?!!!

Walking, what a concept, it’s good for you and good for the environment.

Randy
Guest
Randy

EC, spot on. As you said, “those who can’t use common sense while riding” are the problem. Manny, I have an idea … how about you let people make their own decisions about alternative forms of transportation? I’m not advocating breaking the law (scooters on sidewalks, people w/o helmets on scooters). You’ve posted a lot about “no bicycles on sidewalks,” also. If that is important to you, have you thought about trying to get the law changed? Because that is legal, except where expressly prohibited. I believe the laws should be enforced (see my comment below, the first comment posted).… Read more »

Manny
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Manny

Well “Randy”, 4 out of 5 Weho council members disagree with you. So in March, you can vote only for the one that voted against the ban. Oh wait!….you don’t live on Weho!

Randy
Guest
Randy

No, 4 out 5 Council Members enacted a “ban” on scooter rentals (not them, as a concept), which does absolutely *nothing.* Legal to rent them there, ride them there, leave them there, as acknowledged by D’Amico. Further, Heilman voted based on a cruddy decision by Lime (see my comment below). It doesn’t matter whether I live in WeHo or not. I can currently rent one here or there, ride one into here or there, and leave one here or there. But my last comment was to your statement about telling people to walk. How about you let people decide how… Read more »

jimmy palmieri
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jimmy palmieri

lol

Irresponsibility
Guest
Irresponsibility

It’s not that people are resistant to change they are “resistant to using common sense, following the law and having consideration for others” while playing with their shiny new toy. They will rationalize any nutty idea then discard it as soon as the next thing comes along.

Tom Smart
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Tom Smart

Bird settled with the City of Santa Monica for $300,000.plus they have to get licenses. A friend who lives there says many residents are so fed up with the scooters being all over the place and tripping over them, that they are throwing them in dumpsters. Do we really want our Sheriffs trying to enforce these things and handing out tickets???

Darren G
Guest
Darren G

That’s only one version of what’s happening in Santa Monica. Many people love them and are using them as last mile transportation from the subway to their final destination. People use the bike lanes and have learned not to be on the sidewalk, but it takes some education and a learning curve.

Manny
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Manny

Talking points “last mile”…..no such thing.

No one is using it to go a mile from mass transit. People need to get to work not take joyrides for $6.

Randy
Guest
Randy

How do you know this? That “no one” is using it for that? I did this very thing, just the other day, on a scooter (with a helmet, not on the sidewalk). I used to take my bike, all the time, to “close the gap” between my place and the nearest bus stop. Then lock my bike there, or put it on the bus bike rack, and sometimes using it to “close the gap” to where I’m going. The length of time (and connections) dissuade a lot of people from using public transit. When you add the time it can… Read more »

Tom Smart
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Tom Smart

Funny, I never stated that people didn’t enjoy them nor should we not have them in WeHo.

Jerome Cleary
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Jerome Cleary

Two weeks ago when I was in Santa Monica outside the Jamba Juice at 6th and Santa Monica Blvd. several scooters came whizzing towards me on the sidewalk where I was standing and I was able to move fast enough even thought the younger guy riding it jumped off and stopped it cause it almost hit me. I am not an senior citizen and not physically impaired and I do not have to use a cane or walker so I am not sure the safety part will be for those who can’t see a scooter coming fast towards them or… Read more »

Craig
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Craig

The number of scooters in use speaks to their popularity.
Go back to fighting windmills and give them a chance!

Steve
Guest
Steve

Cars are far more popular. Are you saying we shouldn’t regulate them either?

EC
Guest
EC

Regulate, not Ban

Darren G
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Darren G

Cars are regulated.

RobbyDobby
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RobbyDobby

Scooters, like everything young people do these days, are a fad. Six months, they’ll be bored with them and then move on to something else. Remember how the Segway was going to change the world? Same thing…

Darren G
Guest
Darren G

This is no fad and it’s not just young people. They are the next thing in urban transportation.

Joshua88
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Joshua88

Scooters aren’t inherently bad; it is the people who need to be regulated. Rules: No scooters on sidewalks. Maybe only ban on occupied sidewalks – and maybe learn to share space. TBD. No dumping scooters just any old place. TBD. Irresponsible behavior will be fined. TBD. We own this city. You own this platform, Mr Scott. What do you think? They cannot pose a hazard for pedestrians and pets. Hire some homeless people to monitor – and there’s nothing to do if all goes well. Since this is inevitable, be more proactive than a ban. A concerted effort to accommodate… Read more »

Darren G
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Darren G

Amen!

jimmy palmieri
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jimmy palmieri

get these and any motorized vehicles except those used by the disabled OFF OF THE SIDEWALKS. I am sick of watching seniors and unknowing pedestrians getting pushed to the side or nearly clipped. THESE THINGS ARE FAST AND DANGEROUS. Our sidewalks have turned into a violent video game. I have taken pictures of either owners or employees of these companies giving lessons ON THE SIDEWALK. GET THIS PROBLEM FIXED, like NOW.

Scooters Forever
Guest
Scooters Forever

That’s the problem with the ban. A missed opportunity to educate people about the sidewalks. Regulating them would have allowed for education on best practices and the law. Now they’re just going to be renegade. WeHo missed the boat.

Irresponsibility
Guest
Irresponsibility

Our world has become a violent video game!
Unfortunately one cannot legislate common sense.
Put yourself on the receiving end, or your parent or grandparent or any small child or elderly that becomes fair game for irresponsible “creative types” that claim to have the latest, shiniest, hip gadget of distraction that monetizes its way into their pockets far ahead of sensibility.
Irresponsibility has been unleashed BECAUSE IT PAYS! Once out there, no matter how idiotic, they get caught, pay a fine and laugh all the way to the bank.

JoAnn
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JoAnn

Jimmy thank you for thinking of us Seniors. I have been walking my dog on the sidewalk, several times now, when someone on a Scooter comes flying by and almost knocks me over. These Scooters are fast and can be dangerous and should not be allowed on sidewalks.

Webuiltthiscity
Guest
Webuiltthiscity

If you haven’t tried one, you should get the two by four out of your bottom and drive to Santa Monica, let your hair down and take a Bird for a spin along the beach. It’s actually quite fun and will make you feel like a kid again. We could all use that reminder. Everything seems to be so uptight and controlled these days, why does the City control my fun?

Scooters Forever
Guest
Scooters Forever

Yes, this is all true, but they’re not just for beach riding. They are actually a viable mode of transport.

Manny
Guest
Manny

They are NOT a viable mode of transportation. No matter how much your boss tells you to say that, it ain’t gonna make it true. They are a reckless joyride for juveniles, nothing more.

Scooters Forever
Guest
Scooters Forever

Clearly, you haven’t left WeHo on a while. In Santa Monica they are being used to get around the city. Also, j don’t work for any scooter company. I’m not a millennial either.

Randy
Guest
Randy

Yes, I’m a 45 year-old man. I’m not a “reckless juvenile.” Manny, you make a lot of general statements and assumptions, only based on what you have witnessed. I’d like to know how you know so much about everyone who uses these, how they use them, what demographic they are in, etc.. These are your opinions, not based on facts, or research of any kind, only what you have witnessed. And I don’t work for a scooter company, either.

Steve
Guest
Steve

Just stay off the sidewalk and obey all traffic signs.