Helmetless Electric Scooter Rider Hit by a Car on Fountain Avenue Last Night

Scooter belonging to a man killed while riding it in Washington, DC, in September.

A man riding what appears to have been a Bird scooter was hit by a car at 10 p.m. last night on Fountain Avenue near Havenhurst. He was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for treatment.

Lt. William Nash of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station said the man was not wearing a helmet and the scooter had no lights operating. Nash said an officer on the scene said the man “had a strong odor of alcohol” and confessed to having drunk three beers.

The scooter driver apparently was in violation of a state law that is changing soon. That law states that “an operator of a motorized scooter must be at least 16 years old, possess a valid driver’s license or instruction permit, and wear a helmet.

“A motorized scooter may be operated on a bicycle path, trail or bikeway, but not on a sidewalk,” the law states. “On the roadway, it must be operated in the bicycle lane, if there is one. On roads without bicycle lanes, motorized scooters may operate where the speed limit is 25 mph or less, and shall be ridden as close to the right hand curb as possible, except to pass or turn left.”

Gov. Jerry Brown last month signed into law a bill that makes it legal for adults to ride electric scooters without a helmet. Under the new law, cities have the authority to let scooters operate on streets with speeds limits up to 35 mph, a 10 mph increase. That would include virtually all streets in West Hollywood.  The new law will take effect Jan. 1.

Since electric scooters from companies such as Bird and Lime began appearing on WeHo’s sidewalks this spring, there has been an increasing number of riders injured. Data specific to scooter injuries isn’t available, but an emergency room worker at Cedars-Sinai said they have seen an uptick in such injuries, particularly on weekends.

The Washington Post reported in early September that emergency room physicians across the country are experiencing an increase in patients injured while riding on scooters.

“They have been pouring into emergency rooms around the nation all summer, their bodies bearing a blend of injuries that doctors normally associate with victims of car wrecks — broken noses, wrists and shoulders, facial lacerations and fractures, as well as the kind of blunt head trauma that can leave brains permanently damaged,” the Post reported.

To date, there have been two reported deaths from scooter accidents – one in Dallas and one in Washington, D.C.

The West Hollywood City Council in July voted to ban the rental of shared electric scooters within the city limits. Prospective riders can find such dockless scooters sitting on sidewalks by using a mobile phone app and then rent them from that app. The City of West Hollywood is unable to stop scooters rented outside the city (many are clustered on Melrose Avenue) from entering WeHo, but Bird and Lime have cooperated with the city to make it impossible to rent their scooters left on the sidewalk within the city limits.

One issue that local residents have raised is the possibility of pedestrians being hit by scooters, many of which continue to be ridden on sidewalks despite that being illegal.

The Washington Post reported on Saturday that a class-action lawsuit has been filed in L.A. County Superior Court against Lime and Bird and other scooter companies such as Segway and Xiaomi, alleging that they are “aiding and abetting assault” by making the scooters available.

Three of the eight plaintiffs claim they have been seriously injured when a scooter hit them from behind. The plaintiffs also say that the practice of “dumping” scooters on sidewalks without getting permission or providing advance notice, creates a public nuisance.

“Scores (if not hundreds) of riders and pedestrians and members of the public have suffered, are continuing to suffer and will to continue to suffer egregious and avoidable injuries and damage to their person and property,” the suit alleges.


30 Comments
    1. I sincerely doubt it, but I guess we have to see, if something like this goes to court. Either way, the scooter companies should not be liable for the choices people make when riding these things. There are CA laws that apply to all scooters, rented, or privately owned.

      The bicycle share program is most likely not liable for what people do on those bikes.

      Car rental companies are not liable for what people do in rented cars (they require insurance, however).

  1. While I’m not opposed to the concept of these types of scooter rentals for first mile/last mile, short hops, it’s the way they are being driven that is the problem…and you can’t legislate stupidity. I no longer feel safe walking (I know, what a concept!) on the sidewalks with them wizzing by or my having to dodge them. Sidewalks are for walking and that’s it. While the article says that both companies ban rentals in West Hollywood, I know that’s not true…I see them getting picked up and rented all the time here on the Eastside. I’d love to see stronger enforcement–the fines that City Council agreed to place on them for being left in West Hollywood, I think $45.00, is like a mosquito bite, a mere annoyance. If they’d raise the finer to say maybe $250.00, that’d get their attention. They could even put in their rental agreements that the rider is responsible for reimbursing then for the fines or their accounts will be permanently deleted. As for enforcement, while I’d love to see our Sheriff’s having the time to cite more of them, in reality, when faced with more serious crimes, they just don’t have the time and manpower. Maybe the Ambassador programs, the crews in the blue uniforms on bicycles could be empowered to cite them as well as the Sheriff’s volunteers? I’d actually be in favor of empowering both to not only write citations for the scooters being driven illegally on the sidewalks or streets above 25 mph speed limits or riding the wrong way up the street…but also to cite for other quality of life issues in our City–dogs off leash, dog owners not picking up after their dogs…you get my drift.

    1. Actually Rob the impoundment fee can be as high as $800 since Weho is a “no park zone”. But many scooters seem to stay parked on the sidewalk for hours since it doesn’t look like the city is making an effort to pick them up. Although the scooter apps black-out where scooters are in Weho, anyone can come upon one and rent it. Since this business is not permitted to operated here, it would make perfect legal sense for the city to require these companies to DISABLE the ability to rent a scooter within West Hollywood. That is the secret weapon, but the city refuses to do that. Finally, yes, Block by Block should be on the front line of enforcing the prohibition of motorized vehicles on the sidewalk. But again, there doesn’t seem to be the will to do that.

      1. Not only disable the ability to rent a scooter within West Hollywood but disable its ability to be ridden on the sidewalk.

        Side walks are just that, side “walks” otherwise they would be known as side roadways or side driveways. This is idiocy compounded by municipal idiocy. It’s foolish to pass feel good laws if they are not going to be enforced.

        1. How would they disable the ability for them to do that? Do you think GPS is that accurate? Do you think if someone jumps on the sidewalk suddenly that the scooter would just come to a grinding halt? I’m sure a lot of anti-scooter people would laugh at that idea, but I could see someone getting thrown off one in that scenario, and seriously injured, not to mention lawsuits.

          And Rob, If you want sidewalks to be only for walking, you might want to appeal to your city Council to make bicycle riding on the sidewalk illegal. Because it’s not. It’s not illegal in most parts of the city.

          1. Allow the technology to slow the scooter to a stop on a sidewalk and render it inoperable. Likewise institute a weight governance to eliminate two riders. Bike riding on sidewalks is not allowed when bike lanes are provided.

          2. Once again, I don’t think GPS technology is accurate enough to know when one is on the sidewalk versus a bike lane. My running apps certainly don’t show that level of accuracy.

  2. Gee…..who could have ever seen this coming? Someone will need to die, before anyone gets serious about enforcing laws. Sadly, that’s what we all expect will happen. Impossible to rent in Weho??? Hahhh….I see it daily. Who is kidding who?

    1. I actually tried to park a Lime scooter near Laurel and Sunset yesterday. I took it from Melrose, up to Sunset, which included going through West Hollywood. When I tried to park it, I was a few feet into the West Hollywood zone map. The Lime app told me that I will be fined if I park it there. So I moved it another 20 feet north, outside the zone, and I was able to park it. I think there are more restrictions in place than you realize.

  3. Absolutely no surprise here. With Daylight Saving’s Time starting, expect to see more accidents – especially during rush hour. I love the idea of these scooters, but there is no room for them on our roads after dark. As a driver, I’m constantly fearful of not seeing one.

  4. Saw this accident happen right in front of us as we were driving up Havenhurst about to make a right on Fountain. Whats left out of the story is that the scooter rider was thrown up in the air about 10 feet.
    As far as motorized scooters are concerned, they should be regulated. Seeing too many of them whiz by through traffic, driven by young dare devils risking their health and life, occasionally harassing pedestrians on the sidewalk or cutting off cars. They need to have helmets, knee and elbow pads, gloves, lights. And also should have bright vests with the operators permit in BOLD print on the back, to limit the few who abuse the rights of others.

  5. Saw this accident happen right in front of us as we were driving up Havenhurst about to make a right on Fountain. Whats left out of the story is that the scooter rider was thrown up in the air about 10 feet.
    As far as motorized scooters are concerned, they should be regulated. Seeing too many of them whiz by through traffic, driven by young dare devils risking their health and life, occasionally harassing pedestrians on the sidewalk or cutting off cars. They need to have helmets, knee and elbow pads, gloves, lights. And also should have bright vests with the operators permit in BOLD print on the back, to limit the few who abuse the rights of others.

      1. So what? If its not safe, why should anyone profit. I don’t see cars without seat belts and air bags. I spoke to a guy at Bird and suggested a sensor that will detect two riders at once, he said it was too expensive. He’s more than happy to make money from a dangerous product.

  6. E-scooters are just a bad idea and offer no useful purpose. The companies that manufacture this flimsy unstable device and the ones that provide this on-demand “service” ignore their customers’ well being and neglect public safety for the sole purpose of profiting off of $1 joyrides. It’s really unconscionable and verges on criminal.

    In France, a place that does follow data on this subject, 286 people were injured and five people killed in accidents involving scooters in 2017. What a shame.

    It’s safe to assume that in this country there are countless injuries, and worse, that would have never occurred if it weren’t for this amusement park ride unlawfully operating on our roads and sidewalks. Aside from the inherent danger of these devices, the nature of on-demand scooters bring out the worst in human behavior and irresponsibility.

    You’re not 12 years old anymore and still living in a cul-de-sac in Valencia. Grow-up people!…..Take a walk, ride a bike or buy a car.

    1. “… bring out the worst in human behavior and irresponsibility.” Seriously? Isn’t that a tad dramatic?

      Your data about France, and this supporting article I found, says nothing about the actual number of people using them, and what percentage of those have been injured. I expect the percentage to be higher than other forms of transportation, as these are new, and yes, that means people aren’t going to think about how to use them safely as much, just like people didn’t think about how to use automobiles safely, or what we should or should not have in our law books (safety belts, for example). It took several years to learn, and only by using them.

      Note that France is just enacting a law with this data, disallowing their use on the sidewalk (which we already have in CA). “We are going to create a new vehicle category. These vehicles will be permitted to ride on roads, cycling lanes, or in 30kph zones, but not on pavements.” So they are actually behind CA, as far as the law is concerned.

      https://www.connexionfrance.com/French-news/France-transport-minister-Elisabeth-Borne-bans-electric-foot-scooters-from-pavements

      And “grow up?” I’m a 45 year-old man, and not the only non-millenial to think that these are an awesome idea, use them on a regular basis, get cars off the road, provide “point to point” transportation, and, God forbid, people might be having a little fun (and I don’t say the latter part, as an advocation of anyone breaking the law, including impairment, riding on the sidewalk, not stopping at stop signs, etc.. … nor do I say that, to be insensitive to this accident).

      Despite your disdain for this new form of transportation, they are here. They will be regulated (in LA, at least), but they are here, and not going anywhere. And if people ride them irresponsibly, as this person appears to have (I’m not going to cast judgment, because I was not there, but it appears as though that was the case), then they are going to get into accidents, sometimes. Just like people are going to get into accidents in cars, on bicycles, and even walking, when breaking the law.

      As I’ve said many times before, we don’t ban all bikes and cars, as a result of people breaking the law on those. So why should we with these?

      How about enforcement of laws, and educating the public on what the laws are? The latter part might seem obvious to some, but when you think about it, let’s say you’ve never driven a car before. Never passed a driver’s license exam. Yes, there are some people that fall into that category. How would you then know what the laws even are, for scooters, or bicycles? How would you know these are currently disallowed on streets with a speed limit of over 25 MPH? How would you know a helmet is required? (both, about to change on Jan 1)

      1. Randy, please calm down. Folks presumably get prepared for adult life by getting direction from their parents or acquire some individual grasp of the responsibility and/or research inclination. Common sense prevails…not everyone is a renegade disrupter. Perhaps people might need a license for these “wild lime birds”. State is always looking for revenue and see how popular they will remain.

        1. I actually think it is Manny who needs to calm down. He repeatedly labels scooter riders as people who need to “grow up.“ 27% of the population of West Hollywood is between the age of 25 and 34 years old, so yeah, some are young.

          I actually know more people, more than ever before, who don’t even have a car. Probably because our cost of living is so high. They have to choose between rent, and having a car. Many of these people are young people, who haven’t lived here for years, or didn’t buy in early. This provides another option.

          You are correct, some of us have common sense, and that even includes some young people. And some just need to learn.

          There is no way the state is going to pass a law requiring licenses to ride these things. They just reduced restrictions on them, changing law that no longer requires helmets, and allows them to be used on streets with a 35 mph speed limit.

    2. I agree: “IT’S JUST A BAD IDEA!”

      on a sense of being old now, irks me, they can just drop them anywhere. I spent time effort and annoyance since being a kid with bicycle locks, kryptonite Locks, wish Bikes had the tech to leave without locking and not getting stolen.

  7. I was knocked over by a scooter walking in front of the Metro station alongside Santa Monica Blvd—that nice long run of sidewalk from the Sushi place to SVB. They didn’t have a helmet, we’re going as fast as the scooter allows (looked like 20 mph) and didn’t stop. They came up from behind me and knocked me so I stumbled and fell on the curb. I suffered a black eye and still have a scar, one month later, under my eye. Today’s the first day I don’t wear a bandage. One full month. Should have gotten stitches but I was so mortified by the assault I didn’t report it nor did I go to the emergency room (it was a Friday around 9pm. I had had 2 glasses of wine with dinner so I had been drinking but wasn’t drunk.)

    The driver didn’t stop, they looked behind them as they sped off and then seemed to speed up and turn down SVB so I couldn’t see where they were going.

    I love the idea of scooters but the a good portion of the riders are arrogant jerks. So we need to patrol and enforce the laws. Weho, the peace patrol or sheriffs dept need to station people along this stretch for the safety of everyone (car burglaries, assaults, scooter and bike violations, etc. They’d net quite a profit in tickets and make sidewalks safer for us all. Every time I see someone actually in the bike lane, and there IS a great bike lane from Doheny to around Kings, I smile and wave. They are following the law and I love to see ppl using these scooters versus cars. But get off the freakin sidewalks.

    1. I’m so sorry this happened to you. And I agree with you … we need better enforcement of our laws, which would include the use of scooters, bicycles, and automobiles (texting and driving, for example). It should be noted that this person was probably on a privately-owned scooter, if you think they were going 20 MPH, as 15 MPH is the maximum speed on the rented ones.

  8. I warned everyone on many blogs. They are so dangerous to both the drivers of them and pedestrians. A few months ago it was a scooter that broke in half and the premed student was KILLED when hit by a car. They are very poorly designed and executed. Shame on our crazy governor for allowing people to drive these dangerous scooters without a helmet at a time when young people feel invincible. And yes, it’s mostly 20 year olds who drive them.

  9. “Since electric scooters from companies such as Bird and Lime began appearing on WeHo’s sidewalks this spring, there has been an increasing number of riders injured.”

    Well, yes, an increase in ridership, in this case, especially starting from no ridership, WOULD see an “increase” in riders injured. Wehoville couldn’t find a single counterpoint before publishing this story? Is there perhaps an angle exploring the lack of bike infrastructure in the city that a scooter could use? Was comment sought from any of the scooter rental companies or a frequent scooter user?

    1. Thank you, Marc. Here’s a comment, from a frequent scooter user. And here we go again, with the great scooter debate of 2018. I wonder what the world would be like if people were as passionate over the number of people killed in Syria by our country every day, as they were about this subject.

      This article seems very skewed towards “anti-scooter,” and rehashes what has been published here, several times (regarding emergency room stats, and what-not). And, as you said, *of course* the numbers are going to go up, when these all of the sudden became widely available?

      People make mistakes, on all kinds of vehicles. Do we ban all cars, when someone gets a DUI, or in an accident? Bicycles, where the rider is at fault? Does anyone know that helmets are *not* required on bicycles, unless you are a minor? And those go faster, and are also often rode on the sidewalk, and that it is usually legal to do so there?

      This is just going to add more fuel to the “anti-scooter” sentiment.

      How about we have law enforcement ticket people for breaking the law? Or how about we educate people? How would anyone, know, by default, for example, that you aren’t allowed to ride these (currently) on streets with a speed limit over 25 MPH? That helmets (currently) are required? When renting one, the apps do tell you the latter, as well as not to ride on the sidewalk, and to obey all traffic laws.

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