Even though the scooters have been banned in West Hollywood, it doesn’t mean a thing if there is no enforcement. The scooters are still weaving through pedestrians on the sidewalks.
The city has painted circles on the sidewalks warning that scooters, bikes and skateboards are not allowed on sidewalks. While this is not the most irresponsible thing the city has done in response to a public safety issue, it is up there on the list.
People who ride scooters, bikes and skateboards do not look down, they look straight ahead.
The warning signs should be on poles at eye level in a bright color and warn of a fine for scooters, skateboards and bikes. I think a $250 fine is reasonable.
If a person is struck head-on by a scooter, bike or skateboarder and falls backward, hitting the back of his or her head on the pavement, that person has a very good chance of being killed instantly or slowly bleeding to death or dying in the hospital from intra-cranial pressure.
An emergency department nurse at UCLA Medical Center in Westwood told me recently that two out of three injuries that go to the trauma center lately involve scooters.
Scooters, bikes and skateboards on sidewalks are not only a nuisance but are effectively deadly weapons. We don’t allow people to walk the sidewalks with loaded guns, yet we allow the same potentially dangerous conditions with scooters, bikes and skateboards on the sidewalks.
I suppose it will take a death of one of our beloved citizens before the city effectively enforces sidewalk safety. No one should be injured or die because the city doesn’t enforce its’ own laws.
I suggest that signs, as I described, be placed on every sidewalk where this typically occurs. I also believe that the city should hire sidewalk enforcement personnel to patrol (on foot) the major sidewalks and write tickets, much like parking meter enforcement. Plus, I believe more cameras should be installed so that when something does occur it will be recorded. That goes for every crosswalk too.
In addition to those measures, the city should be picking up scooters, impounding them and charging the scooter companies a fine to get them back.
There is no reason that the citizens of West Hollywood should not have safe sidewalks. The city council and the public safety commission have the ability to save lives and prevent injuries if they choose to. This is their chance to be proactive before someone gets hurt.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is one of a series of op-eds that candidates in the March 5, 2019, West Hollywood City Council race are invited to submit until election day.