West Hollywood Has Now Banned Riding Electric Bikes on Sidewalk

A Wheels dockless electric bike

It’s official. The City of West Hollywood has banned the riding of electric bikes on city sidewalks. The proposed ban was initially brought forward on June 17, when it got the support of Council members John Heilman, Lindsey Horvath and Lauren Meister. Mayor John D’Amico and Councilmember John Duran opposed it. Last night was the second reading of the ordinance, which means the ban now takes effect.

City law currently allows those riding bicycles to move to a city sidewalk if they are on a street without a designated bicycle lane so long as they ride in the same director as traffic in the adjacent street. However, those riding electric bikes, which are permissible in bike lanes and traffic lanes, cannot ride on sidewalks at any time. There are three types of electric bikes:

— Class 1 is a bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.

— Class 2 is a bicycle equipped with a motor that may be used exclusively to propel the bicycle, and that is not capable of providing assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.

— Class 3 is a bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 28 miles per hour, and equipped with a speedometer.

Dockless electric bikes have begun popping up on city sidewalks in recent months, with many of them branded Wheels, which is headquartered in West Hollywood. While it calls itself an electric bike, apparently it doesn’t qualify as such because it lacks movable pedals. It could be considered an electric scooter, differing from those produced by Lime and Byrd in that it offers a seat and pedals on which to rest one’s feet.

West Hollywood in June 2018 enacted a ban on electric scooters, which one cannot rent from a sidewalk within the city limits. However, like electric bikes, they can be easily rented on sidewalks on Melrose Avenue and La Brea Avenue on the city’s boundaries and ridden into West Hollywood.

The City Council in March approved an 18-month pilot project that will allow a limited number of dockless bikes to operate in West Hollywood. The city has issued a request for proposal from dockless bike companies. That project replaces the WeHo Pedals program, which involved bicycles docked at particular sidewalk stations that could be rented using a mobile phone app.  WeHo Pedals didn’t generate the advertising revenue the city hoped for and sustained a considerble loss.  It will end on Aug. 30.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story erred in describing the Wheels bike as an electric bike. Thanks to comments from our readers, we have learned that Wheels does not meet state standards for an electric bike because it lacks movable pedals. The story has been updated to correct the error.


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james francis
Guest
james francis

These are motorized and more than just electric, they will cause havoc if these riders blatantly ignore ordinances enacted. Again with the public safety at large, we again have the same counci members dissenting, making it only a simple majority to enact and not unanimous vote against them. This is not reassuring since who is to enforce this. I see it all the the time, and the perpetrators get away with riding and behaving erratically on SIDEWALKS AND STREETS without the fear or subject to having these VEHICLES because that is what they are, not this so called bogus last… Read more »

Joseph
Guest
Joseph

I lived in Weho for years but now live in DC. The scooters and electric bikes are everywhere and guess what the city embraces them. West Hollywood should get out of the Stone Age and get in with the times. Traffic is horrendous throughout West Hollywood they should encourage other forms of transportation. Regulate and create more bike lanes.

Howard
Guest
Howard

This article, including it’s correction, is still incorrect. According to California Assembly Bill AB1096, which defines electric bicycles (e-bikes), Class 1, 2 & 3 e-bikes MUST have operating pedals. Only class 2 is allowed to have a throttle which can propel without pedaling, but it still needs pedals to quality as a Class 2 e-bike. “Wheels” scooters do NOT have operating pedals, so they do not qualify as an e-bike, and therefore are not governed by e-bike laws. Class 1 & 2 e-bikes have the same rights as regular bicycles under California law. Which means they can be ridden on… Read more »

Code Enforcement
Guest
Code Enforcement

Code enforcement will never remember all those details. They can’t even tell a historic landmark building from a regular building and focus on its specific written issues when the need arises. Weho is becoming a free for all and we will now have buzzed cannabis users flying down sidewalks and other buzzed users texting in cars thinking our streets are the Indy 500. Weho can be hazardous to ones health.

Josh Kurpies
Guest
Josh Kurpies

It appears, after reading AB 1096, that the pictured WHEELS bikes seen around the borders of West Hollywood, especially along Melrose and La Brea, are not “electric bikes” but are defined as “motorized bicycles” or “mopeds” under CA law and are prohibited from operating “…on all bicycle paths or trails, bikeways, bicycle lanes, equestrian trails, and hiking or recreational trails unless the local authority with jurisdiction over the facility permits their operation.” I do not believe the City of West Hollywood has every authorized the use of “motorized bicycles” or “mopeds” in its bicycle lanes, however, since motorized bicycles are… Read more »

Sag
Guest
Sag

There will be zero enforcement, just like the scooters. The City Council is really good at these big announcements without any followup or enforcement. Twice recently, I was walking in the 8000 block of SM Blvd. and almost got plowed over. I got a middle finger waved at me and some expletives from the rider when I yelled out to him to watch out.

Plus, countless abandoned scooters and bikes all over the city!

Get with it City Council. Enforce your own rules for a change!

Kelly Thompson
Guest
Kelly Thompson

Duh. Response from Code Enforcement is that they are way too understaffed for the tons of violations that are directly harmful to residents and general public safety. One can assume, given that the city has loads of money, that they really don’t care that much about this.

senorroboto
Guest
senorroboto

There is a mismatch between the pictured vehicle and the topic of the article.

Your article says: “An electric bike is a low-speed pedal-assisted bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour. ”

But the pictured vehicle you call an “electric bike” has no drive pedals. It’s basically a scooter with a seat, like an Electric Vespa.

Henry (Hank) Scott
Admin

Actually, it is an electric bike, with pedals, which are difficult to see in this photo because they are aligned with a black area on the bottom of the bike. Wheels does not offer electric scooters, only devices with pedals.

senorroboto
Guest
senorroboto

I am familiar with the Wheels “bikes”. It has “pedals” but they are merely foot pegs so that your feet are not dragging on the ground, you cannot power the bike with them. If you look at photos you can see there is no crankset, chain, or belt, just a straight peg.

senorroboto
Guest
senorroboto

Respectfully, they are just pegs and not drive pedals, I have seen the Wheels vehicles in person. Jump bikes on the other hand are actual E-assist bikes.

Josh Kurpies
Guest
Josh Kurpies

Hank, I’d have to agree with Senorroboto. The “pegs” that are not visible in the picture as you describe serve as resting spots or “pegs” for the rider’s feet but have not impact on the movement of the vehicle, making the “WHEELS” bikes a Class 2 electric bike and the others, “JUMP” for example, that require the rider to pedal before the electric motor jumps in to “assist”, Class 1 electric bikes. From the DMV website in re: electric bikes Class 1: A low speed pedal-assisted electric bicycle equipped with a motor which provides assistance only when the rider is… Read more »

Henry (Hank) Scott
Admin

Interesting. And very useful. I will update the story to reflect that

Jason
Guest
Jason

a foot rest is not a pedal

Alan Strasburg
Guest
Alan Strasburg

One city councilmember once said that there are plenty of laws on the books that aren’t enforced; this will be one of them.

D.A.B.
Guest
D.A.B.

If the out of touch city council doesn’t want scooters/bikes on sidewalks then they need to make SAFE bike Lanes on every bit of every major street within the city limits.

@pbvinn
Guest
@pbvinn

Dude. Buy a car!

John Ryan
Guest
John Ryan

What good are laws with no enforcement? The scooters and bikes are an incredible nuisance and very unsafe for both riders and pedestrians. Riding on the sidewalk? TICKET THE DRIVER.

Jason
Guest
Jason

I’m 1000% all for this… IF the city also starts ticketing every single person that blocks a bike line with their Uber / Lyft / delivery truck /those waiting to pickup a friend / first responder vehicle that isn’t actually responding to a call but rather buying coffee…

Robert
Guest
Robert

Scooters are left abandoned on practically every street in West Hollywood,

D.A.B.
Guest
D.A.B.

This is absolutely NOT TRUE since the old and out of touch with the modern day council members banned scooters in the city limits. This was undoubtedly done because they couldn’t get pocket lining money from the scooter companies. The scooters will not even allow a rider to end a ride within city limits. It would make no sense to get off of a scooter in city limits and walk away from it as the ride won’t end and the customer would continue to be charged.

Got Grammer?
Guest
Got Grammer?

Absolutely inaccurate. We see them every weekend all over Weho and they are turned off.

Manny
Guest
Manny

Thank you West Hollywood City Council (most of you) for continuing your efforts to protect the safety and confidence of the hundreds of pedestrians who use the public paths and sidewalks on a daily basis.

PEDESTRIANS FIRST!

Likes the Bikes
Guest
Likes the Bikes

The city should enforce the laws on delivery vehicles that park in the bike lanes, perhaps that could get the bikes off the sidewalks.

AKP
Guest
AKP

Exactly

Wesley McDowell
Guest
Wesley McDowell

Really? A good example of the exception becoming the rule.

Jason
Guest
Jason

As someone that rides my bike in Weho every day, I can tell you that it is NOT the exception. There are CONSTANTLY parked vehicles blocking the bike lane (delivery trucks and Uber/Lyfts are the worst offenders, but by no means the only offenders). Trust me, no regular rider WANTS to ride on the sidewalk or in the main lane of traffic. If there’s a bike lane available, that is always my first choice.