Now, What About Those Electric Scooters?

Lime-S electric scooters in front of Shake Shack on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood.

The West Hollywood City Council on July 9 voted to ban companies from leaving electric scooters for rent on city sidewalks and streets. Since then, residents report still seeing people (mostly young ones) riding scooters on city sidewalks and streets, usually without helmets.

However, a statement last night from Lt. Edward Ramirez of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station to the city’s Public Safety Commission and a memo from Tara Worden, an assistant city planner, indicate that enforcement is underway.

Ramirez said that since January deputies have issued 31 citations to scooter riders, mainly for driving on sidewalks or on streets where the speed limit is greater than 25 miles per hour. It also has issued eight citations for riding motorized skateboards on the streets.

While those practices are illegal, the ordinance passed by the City Council in July does not totally ban the use of electric scooters. Those who rent them from companies such as Lime and Bird outside the city limits are allowed to ride them into West Hollywood, so long as they follow laws banning riding on sidewalks and requiring helmets and don’t leave them on city sidewalks when the ride is over.

In her memo, which will be presented to the city’s Transportation Commission Wednesday night, Worden said the city’s Code Enforcement Division has received 33 complaints since June 1 (largely about abandoned scooters on sidewalks). However, she said, “the frequency of the complaints has dropped to two per week in late July.”

Worden said the city has been meeting with representatives of Bird and Lime and that they “have been responsive in correcting issues cited in the complaints.”

“As a result of working directly with representatives from Bird and Lime, staff has noticed that the practice of placing devices in the public right-of-way has dramatically decreased,” Worden’s memo said. “The drop zones (the places where riders are supposed to leave the scooters) are outside of the city, and the devices that appear in West Hollywood do so as a result of users riding them into the city boundaries. Furthermore, minimal staff time has been required for the enforcement of this ban.”

Worden said the city has suggested that Bird and Lime address public safety concerns by “hosting free helmet give-away events, and/or conducting ‘how-to-ride; user safety classes for the public.” She said the city also has asked those companies, the largest electric scooter rental firms, to indicate West Hollywood’s boundaries on the mobile phone apps used to rent them and make it clear that parking them on the public right-of-way is against the law.”

Worden said that both companies were willing to do that but haven’t yet made the changes in their mobile apps.

Worden said that representatives from Bird and Lime also have followed up on a recommendation by City Councilmember Lindsey Horvath that they consider negotiating drop off zones at local businesses on their private property. She said the companies have been discussing the idea with the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, to discuss potential partnerships with local businesses.

    1. That all depends on how “inclusive” is being defined. Like I don’t want to be included in the local cross burning bar-b-q lynching in conservative small town USA in the rest of Middle America, especially if I’m the main event. Feel free to discover that part of the country on an electric scooter in the middle of their coal roller monster trucks and, let us know just how “inclusive” they were! 🤣

  1. Now, What About Those Fossil Fuel Power Private Automobiles Causing the Real Problems? Why are we even considering a ban on electric scooters when they have an exceptionally low environmental impact in stark contrast to one of the greatest contributors to environmental degradation, the fossil fuel powered automobile? The electric scooters can easily be made even more environmentally friendly when powered by sustainable energy. ♻️

    I have yet to see an article published about people on scooters overcome with urges to inflict unnecessary harm on others in celebration of their preferred method of transit. The narcissistic lovers of automobiles (especially SUVs) on the other hand show little if any concern for the well being for others and, attain a great deal of gratification and feeling of empowerment in their ability to inflict harm on defenseless people.

    True there are problems created by allowing the scooter rental companies to have a policy of allowing their customers to leave them where ever they want when they are done using them, there needs to be a proper place to put them when people are done using them. Just imagine the problems we would have if all the narcissistic lovers of automobiles were able to park where ever they wanted to? By providing low income individuals with free electric scooters as part of a serious Public Mass Transit, we could easily get rid of the private fossil fuel powered automobile problem.

    The two biggest threats to public safety are guns and private automobiles, and if the owners are irresponsible with them, as in presenting a clear danger to the public, they should lose their right to have them. Public Safety in the Great City of West Hollywood would be better served if we banned fossil fuel power automobiles as opposed to electric scooters and, promoting more Public Mass Transit!

    1. It’s NOT about the me, it’s about the we! 🌍 Keep your fossil fuel powered vehicles as museum exhibits and, try Public Mass Transit if you are afraid of using a scooter or bicycle. You might find that all the people you are so afraid of, causing you to shelter yourself in a vehicle, turn out to be your friends! 🙂

  2. Another unsafe operator tactic I’ve recently noticed is using bike lanes IN THE WRONG DIRECTION for the side of the street they’re traveling on: The bike lanes—where the scooters are SUPPOSED to be relegated to operating—are ONE WAY: going the SAME direction as auto traffic. And yet I’ve recently noticed a number of scooter operators using the designated bike lanes going the wrong way for the side of the street that they’re traveling on. If they encounter a cyclist or another scooter operator going the CORRECT direction for the lane, this forces one of them out into auto traffic, creating a hazard both for the scooter or cyclist swerving into car traffic as well as for the cars, whose drivers suddenly find themselves having to swerve to avoid hitting the unexpected interloper—ESPECIALLY if the interloper is the wrong-way scooter operator. FOR VERY GOOD REASONS, we don’t tolerate wrong-way driving of cars, motorcycles not traffic lanes—OR bicyclists using bike lanes; NOR should we tolerate scooter operators doing this: If they’re going to to be on the streets, they MUST abide by the same laws. Unfortunately, the scooter companies seem intent on avoiding ANY part of THEIR responsibility to ensure that the vehicles they rent are safely operated—and for the consequences of when they’re not. Car rental companies’ autos are linked to the citations and subject to seizure of fines aren’t paid. Lime & Bird should be treated no differently; and if they don’t want to abide by the laws that govern everyone else as far as ensuring operator safety then their vehicles should be subject to IMMEDIATE seizure & disposal.

    MARK MY WORDS: It’s a matter of time before someone—either a pededestrian, a cyclist, an auto operator or a scooter rider— is KILLED as a result of the PREDICTABLE and MORE-THAN-AMPLY-DEMONSTRATED UNSAFE operator behavior of these ILLEGAL vehicles that Lime and Bird are IRRESPONSIBLY making available to anyone willing to provide their data to them…all to make a buck while foisting onto the taxpayers the foreseeable financial consequences of their business model. I can’t wait to see them get their socks sued off when it happens. Unfortunately, it will probably come about as a result of someone being killed or permanently crippled.

    Ticketing needs to be MUCH more aggressive for these things.

    1. EXACTLY!

      My question. Is and always has been:

      Who is responsible for insurance on a motorized scooter on the road and why are they not easily identifiable with some sort of license or tag number on them?

      If they cause an accident, damage property or hurt someone, who is held accountable to pay for the hospital bills or repairs? They can’t be traced.

      Any car on the road must have comp and collision coverage. Why do these not have to have that?

      If they sideswipe our car, do we sue The scooter company?

      Get them off the road!

      1. Also, “your mother,” to answer your questions, these things are tracked on GPS. If and when there is an accident, the scooter company will know who rented it and where it was used. In the case of a hit and run, they might not be able to know, but that’s no different than any case of a hit and run using any type of vehicle, be it an automobile, bicycle, etc.. Using your logic, should all bicycles have license plates, also (they do, in Japan)?

        Once again, odds are that the person on the scooter is going to be injured or killed, over causing that to happen to someone else, or over causing property damage, at all.

        Why and how is this issue any different than anyone renting or using a bicycle? You think a scooter “side-swiping” a vehicle is going to happen that often, or they are going to do serious damage? As compared to a bicycle? Have you used one of these things? They weigh practically nothing, and the only possible way they’d scratch a vehicle would be with one of the handlebars, which seems very unlikely. Should all bicycles require insurance, also? Should we dismantle “WeHo Pedals?” Doesn’t that system carry the same issues of liability?

    2. Wait a second. Are you saying that if a Sheriff’s officer cites someone on a scooter for disobeying the law, including not stopping at a stop sign, riding in the wrong direction in a bike lane, not wearing a helmet, or riding on the sidewalk, that they get off free? No, I don’t think so. It is a requirement that you have a driver’s license when operating a scooter, rented or not. I’m not sure what more you expect Lime and Bird to do about this, as they do tell every person renting a scooter the following, upon first use:

      – Obey all traffic laws.
      – Wear a helmet.
      – Be 18 or older, and have a valid driver’s license (Bird makes you take a picture of it).
      – Only one person on a scooter at a time.
      – Not ride on the sidewalk.
      – Not leave the scooter in the right of way.

      The last bullet point is really the only thing they could “pass through” to the person renting the vehicle, with the ban in place. It would be like abandoning a rented car somewhere, or getting a parking ticket for leaving that rented car where it isn’t supposed to be parked. The rest are all operator issues, and if the Sheriff’s department was doing their job, people would be cited for these infractions, and the scooter companies would have nothing to do with it. The scooter companies are not responsible for people who break the law, anymore than Alamo is responsible for someone drinking and driving behind the wheel of one of their cars, speeding, etc..

      Also, when you say “we don’t tolerate” breaking the law in automobiles and on bicycles, I see people getting away with it each and every day. Including bicycles going against traffic in the bike lane, and being used on the sidewalk where they are illegal to be used. Once again, an enforcement issue.

      Insurance is another issue all-together. Does “WeHo Pedals” require insurance for their riders? Are they responsible in an accident, in any way? (I really don’t know the answer to these questions). Yes, inevitably there will be an accident on one of these things, and I will say the odds are that the rider of the scooter is going to be injured or killed, over them injuring or killing someone else.

      As far as the scooter ban goes, and “IMMEDIATE seizure and disposal,” good luck with that. We have a city that lets gas-powered leaf blowers be used daily, illegal AirBnB listings, etc.. I’m not sure how the city is supposed to be there when someone parks one of these things, “IMMEDIATELY.” It is a code enforcement issue, and must be reported. We can’t get our own Sheriff’s department to enforce the state laws we have in place, already, and they are out on the streets, not necessarily waiting by the phone for someone to report something, or get a notification through the city’s app. So I’d expect no faster response from the city, unless you expect city employees to be patrolling the streets. Perhaps the parking patrol should be in charge of the seizure of these scooters, but the ban, as it is written, I believe gives the scooter companies up to two hours to pick them up before seizure, after being contacted by the city.

      1. It’s still unbelievable to me that the City will supposedly remove a scooter within a few hours but a mattress sometimes takes 3 days to remove from my street. Really?!?

  3. Encountering them randomly strewn across the sidewalk is annoying. However, about a week ago, I experienced how dangerous this “fad” can be. Walking near Target, I was sideswiped by a guy who was going way too fast on the sidewalk. Fortunately, I’m a decent sized, younger person. Had I been smaller in stature, a child, or elderly, the collision could have resulted in a serious injury. As it was, I had the wind knocked out of me. Hardly surprising, the guy just kept going and didn’t even acknowledge me. It’s just a matter of time before someone is hurt badly (if that hasn’t already happened somewhere). Yes, they do provide an affordable, efficient, and environmentally friendly alternative means of transportation. However, the current rental platform also sets the stage for irresponsible, relatively consequence free use. Unfortunately, aside from a flat out ban, I don’t see a fix for people being irresponsible.

  4. I hated the scooters at first, but then I rode one and they are fun. In order for the scooters to work the scooter companies are going to have to partner with tons of business to be scooter drop off zones with racks for the scooters so they are not left everywhere. Then they could program the app to not allow the rider to end their ride on the scooters on the streets where racks are located. Also, they need to find a way to attach a helmet to the scooter that locks to the scooter when not in use and unlocks for the ride. Nobody is going to carry a helmet around to ride the scooters. Even if the scooter companies did all the above and it solved the helmet and scooter parking issue in the end it probably won’t work out because the average rider of the scooters is not going to follow the rules of where they can and cannot ride the scooters. Bird was started by a former Uber exec so it’s not a surprise that the followed the same tactic as Uber of introducing the service without consulting the cities in hopes that everybody would deem the service so important that they cities couldn’t get rid of it. Unfortunately for them I don’t think it is going to work as well as Uber did as this is in my opinion is much for disruptive to the cities and is not going to be deemed as must have as Uber was.

  5. I think for the first time, I have seen the city cave to a bully business. Scooters are nothing but a blight to our neighborhoods. Companies use the city grounds for free parking and storage of their product. I have seen 3 people with helmets in the street as opposed to hundreds doing circus stunts around pedestrians on the sidewalk. When I see them parked on the sidewalk on my block or on the lawn of where I pay rent, I kick them into the street. If I continue to see them on my buildings lawn, I will put them into my buildings dumpster, as I’ll assume they are trash since they have no rules, regulations, owners or purveyors that are taking care of them. You’re welcome.

  6. Accidents waiting to happen…The City Council seems
    to be weakening ….31 citations is a joke !

    Always on sidewalks
    Never wear helmets
    I now see two on a single scooter

    We must really start giving citations…Ban these awful scooters !!!!!!!

  7. Of all of the “anti-scooter” comments I’ve seen, this one is definitely the most absurd, and the most heartless. You think this is “poor people’s” revenge? Really?

    Guess what? Some of those “poor” people are bussing your tables, cleaning your hotel rooms, cleaning your house, tending to your garden, etc.. No, not all of those people are using scooters for transportation, but it is pretty gross to condemn those who can’t afford a car, especially when we live in the least affordable metropolitan area in the entire country.

    This is not a “class war.” It is a new method of transportation that is convenient, practical, affordable and fun. And yes, people are using them incorrectly, and illegally. And there are some who are not.

    Furthermore, I’m not a poor person, and I choose non-automobile methods of transportation. I’m not “harassing” you by doing so. I’m relieving traffic congestion, and choosing not to waste my money on a vanity vehicle.

    The main demographic of people using these are younger people, not necessarily all of them are poor.

  8. Melrose Ave. in LA is now the ‘drop zone’. Monday, between Martel and La Cienega, there were 159 scooters at 8am. Week before were 135 on Wednesday, 157 on Thursday and 189 on Friday. TOO MANY!!

    1. The increase in scooters over the week at 8am shows that they are being used, otherwise there’d be no reason for the companies to increase the number of scooters being delivered there each morning.

      Ridership/trip data is what the City loses access to by outright banning them.

      1. False statement.. it’s called investment period… increase in number of scooters is attributable to the company being aggressive in pushing a product to the market in hopes the market will finally embrace it. Majority of the scooters are left unused. Maybe as time passses if the aggressiveness Tacitus wins, the company will starting seeing profit/revenues.

  9. The Facts
    Sidewalk scooter riding on sidewalks has not diminished and walking your dog with scooters is alarming
    Scooters being left in the middle of pedestrian walk ways still continues

  10. Just another gimmick. Yesterday while driving 3 out of 7 ran stop signs. Hey follow laws. Stay off sidewalks cause turning a corner is not fun Don’t right two on one and take up a lane. Now bicycles about 50 % run stop signs. Now scooters not. Created for the poor for transportation. It’s for the people raised on razors. Skateboards. Not for older people on fixed incomes. So don’t play pooor story on me. Play safety and follow rules and don’t drive through crosswalks illegal for bikes and motorized vehicles. Used vespas better for the poor or renting them. Not a trend that will leave a mess soon as more and more ride them illegally

  11. I have a difficult time believing that the scooter rental companies can’t program these scooters not to work in a certain area. The scooters have gps. And grocery stores know how to stop grocery carts.

    When is Weho going to start impounding scooters that riders leave in our city?

    I cringe when I see tourists trapped with their scooters trying to go down fountain or hilly streets. If they are foolish enough to ride without a helmet, let them. My concern is for the rest of us

    1. I agree.. Bird turned off the ability to rent a scooter via their app in Santa Monica earlier this week as a form of “protest” to because of the City of Santa Monica’s decision to not include them in their pilot program. If that can be done in Santa Monica, it most certainly can be done in West Hollywood!

  12. I’m not a huge fan but also I like fresh air and fewer cars on the road. I’m a motorcycle guy and don’t understand how you’d ride that on the street without a helmet. We need to make a alternative traffic lane for all the bikes and alternative forms of transport. Change is at our door and we should embrace it.

    1. No ban on either….

      “On Friday, the pilot program’s selection committee announced that it would not recommend Bird or Lime, but instead Lyft and Uber-owned Jump, which do not yet operate e-scooter services….

      ….The recommendations are just that, Farrell said. The city’s planning and community development director, David Martin, will make the final decision based on applications, the committee’s endorsements and public feedback, which can be submitted to Martin through Friday.”

    1. WeHo has an App that you can use for most issues. Depending on the issue, I get pretty good response times. I often file complaints about large items left on the sidewalk which obstruct my ability to roll around them on account of my disability.

  13. “Ramirez said that since January deputies have issued 31 citations to scooter riders.”
    That’s just silly. I witness 31 violations in an hour walking around West Hollywood. Hard to take law enforcement seriously on this issue if that’s the best they can do.

      1. Not sure what you mean by “staffing prioritized according,” but the police deal with issues that are not life and death all the time. Not an excuse for their lack of effort.

        1. They are making an effort but 31 citations was not an effort according to you. And my point was that taking the time to cite people for riding a scooter on a sidewalk is not up there with having to handle calls such as someone attacking someone or someone having a heart attack. They are addressing it and citing people when there are less active times during their shift. It is not a priority nor should it be. When word gets around that people are getting ticketed for riding the scooters on the sidewalk, the behavior will slow. Law enforcement has a tough job..people break the law all day long. You have to decide on a minute to minute basis what to address and scooter riding on the sidewalk is low on the priority list. If this, as you say makes “it hard to take law enforcement seriously,” then you have NO IDEA what law enforcement deals with every day. You want more scooter tickets…support more tax money going to hire more law enforcement. Until then, get a grip on reality and be aware of your surroundings.

  14. dear genevieve
    don’t start making deals with businesses that will keep these things riding on the sidewalk. i promise, if left on my street i will call the chamber non stop till they are removed.

    1. Why would businesses agreeing to be drop off zones be responsible for people riding them on the sidewalk? How about the Sheriff’s department do their job, and enforce the law, which was in place long before Lime or Bird existed? 31 tickets over 8 months is less than 4 tickets a month.

      Does anyone want to talk about that? Nope, because I haven’t seen the Council, or even anyone at public comment do so. Will our City Council stand up to the Sheriff’s department and ask them to enforce the law? To issue tickets that will pay for themselves, in a heartbeat? 4 tickets per month? I could issue more than 4 per hour, easily. And if I added in tickets for people riding their bicycle where it is illegal on the sidewalk, and people texting and driving, there would be more than I could handle in a single hour, easily.

      But let’s continue to blame the scooter companies, and now, local businesses, rather than law enforcement, for not enforcing the laws we already have in place?

      With, our without Lime and Bird, the millennials (mostly) are coming in on these scooters, and if people are concerned about safety and them being used on the sidewalk, then please address the real problem: lack of law enforcement.

  15. Get over it! They aren’t going anywhere! They are a great alternative. People on sidewalks are ok with parking meters, Bus stops, cracks, dog poop, trees, toilets, couches, dressers, and tvs. Our boundry is not going to keep the scooters out. we have LA city right in the middle of WeHo. 200 feet from my house is LA. I can get the scooter there. How has anyone complaining been impacted from these? How many times do you almost get hit in a crosswalk from cars? I agree they should not be driven on sidewalks, but WeHo has a large part of Santa Monica without a bike lane! I think helmets should be required and this way they are for us residents that need ways to efficiently do errands and task as a single person not needing to add another car to the gridlock on roads.

  16. They drive them in the middle of the road, swerving all over the place, then back on the sidewalks, then back to the middle of the road. I’ve heard of car accidents with them in other areas. I like the concept but they’re not being driven responsibly, like how people usually ride a bicycle or moped.

  17. Difficult to register complaints to the City Of West Hollywood when our representatives there don’t even have the courtesy to return phone calls . So much for small Governmemt!
    Ban Scooters just like Beverly Hills until the companies are willing to have their riders comply ..

  18. I have been saying all along that we should ask law enforcement to do their jobs. 31 since January is less than 4 citations a month, and I see more people violating the law than that with these almost every single day.

    ‘”In her memo, which will be presented to the city’s Transportation Commission Wednesday night, Worden said the city’s Code Enforcement Division has received 33 complaints since June 1 (largely about abandoned scooters on sidewalks). However, she said, “the frequency of the complaints has dropped to two per week in late July.”

    Worden said the city has been meeting with representatives of Bird and Lime and that they “have been responsive in correcting issues cited in the complaints.”

    “As a result of working directly with representatives from Bird and Lime, staff has noticed that the practice of placing devices in the public right-of-way has dramatically decreased,” Worden’s memo said. ‘

    So have they not seized any scooters? What made less be dropped? What made less be reported? Dropping them anywhere (and I don’t mean in the middle of the sidewalk) is what makes these such an appealing, practical form of transportation. And a counterpoint to why the bike share program has failed. Also, being able to find one in the middle of my neighborhood, on a side street, not on a major thoroughfare.

    I maintain that a ban was outrageous overkill. This is a new thing. It takes people some time to catch on and learn how to use it. Of course, not everyone is going to follow the rules all the time, and you can say that about anything. But banning them wasn’t the answer. Asking law enforcement to do their job is. Four citations a month is barely anything. I could walk up to SMB and hand out more than that in less than an hour.

  19. Please, Please, Please BAN THESE SCOOTERS. I can’t stand when individuals blatantly ride them up and down the sidewalk and zoom past people. It’s completely irritating and dangerous to the pedestrians. It would be great if Weho would just get ride of them once and for all!

    1. More like Please, Please, Please BAN fossil fuel powered private automobiles from the Great City of West Hollywood! After it’s the fossil fuel powered automobiles that’s responsible for drastic negative environmental impacts, injuries and, deaths of innocent people on the streets. We need to replace the fossil fuel powered private automobiles with electric scooters and Public Transit!

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