web analytics

Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Scooters — Latest Concerns and Enforcement

By Darryl DuFay

Over the past months we have become aware of Electric Scooters.  The names: “Bird” and “Lime” were the first.  Now they have added:  “Jump” from Uber and “Spin” from Ford.  GM will come out with electric bicycles in 2019.

The sudden appearance of the vehicles caught all unprepared, and the companies  took advantage.  They had no permits to operate “dockless” scooters.  Geography made no difference to the spread of the scooters.  Santa Monica developed a program to deal with scooters. Beverly Hills and other cities just banned the  scooters.  Los Angeles at first seemed flustered and overwhelmed, especially in Venice.

So what is being done and what needs to be done. It will take time.  There is definitely a learning curve.

Permit Program: On Oct. 1, 2018, the City began a Permit Pilot Program to regulate “dockless bikes and scooters.”  The companies must have a Permit to operate. The permitting is in two parts.  First part is an application period lasting 120 days for conditional approval.  Then they may receive a permanent approval for one year.  The Program is planned to operate for one year after issuance of the first program permit. “Several companies have applied for permits and LADOT is currently reviewing those applications for consistency with the guidelines.”

The guiding documents are at the LADOT website: DOCKLESS ON-DEMAND PERSONAL MOBILITY RULES & GUIDELINES.

1.  Concerns — Known and Under Development

The biggest outcry has been about “scooters” driving up to 15 mph down their sidewalks.  Electric scooters are recognized in the CA Vehicle Code, Section 21235. The Los Angeles City Council is now taking action in conjunction with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT), its Council’s Transportation Committee, chaired by Mike Bonin and other interested council members, and the LAPD.

An operator of a motorized scooter shall not, “Operate a motorized scooter upon a sidewalk, except as may be needed to enter or leave adjacent property.” CA Vehicle Code 21235, (g).  However, there is not yet a posted sign for electric scooters for that prohibition.  The City is working on that sign, which normally cites a Municipal Code. Without a sign a ticket or notice of infraction could be challenged. The companies are required to put “No riding on sidewalks” in a large font on the standing area of the scooter.

2.  Enforcement.  Who does what?  

Ticketing vehicles such as an electric scooter is the responsibility of the LAPD West Traffic Division.  These are the motorcycle people.  Mike Bonin’s office is “…in contact with LAPD about enforcement of the vehicle code sections that apply to scooters riders.”  There is a dire need of additional resources for them to be successful.  They are reviewing using funds from the program generated by fees the companies pay and to focus that money at high-impact areas.  Venice will surely qualify.  The community’s involvement is critical to the success of the program.  Calling the West Traffic Division to report moving violations creates a violation record which will be used to allocate where resources are needed.

Note: LAMC 63.44(O)  Venice Beach Parking Regulations, which has been successfully used to stop electric scooters use along Ocean Front Walk and the bike path is restricted  to  Santa Monica boundary south to Washington Blvd.

But what about when the scooters are not moving and are parking in an unsafe manner?  The City is building an app to dial 311 for scooter parking problems.  It should be available in January.  The City is also working with the companies on their “nesting” criteria.  Maybe a play on words from “Bird.”  It means where and how many scooters are placed in a location.  On Oct. 24, there were 50 scooters within one block of the corner of Windward and Pacific Ave.  This is where the community will be a great assistance in aiding enforcement by using the 311 app.

The City is relying heavily on the companies to enforce City Rules and Guidelines.  For example: Two hours to remove a scooter illegally parked.  Where to park at corners. Parking only in “landscape & furniture” zones, which is a fancy description of the area next to the curb where there is a wide sidewalk.  But, you cannot park on the landscape only on a hard surface like concrete.

Comment (1)

  1. Sid Geyser

    21235.

    The operator of a motorized scooter shall not do any of the following:

    (a) Operate a motorized scooter unless it is equipped with a brake that will enable the operator to make a braked wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement.

    (b) Operate a motorized scooter on a highway with a speed limit in excess of 25 miles per hour unless the motorized scooter is operated within a class II bicycle lane.

    (c) Operate a motorized scooter without wearing a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet that meets the standards described in Section 21212.

    (d) Operate a motorized scooter without a valid driver’s license or instruction permit.

    (e) Operate a motorized scooter with any passengers in addition to the operator.

    (f) Operate a motorized scooter carrying any package, bundle, or article that prevents the operator from keeping at least one hand upon the handlebars.

    (g) Operate a motorized scooter upon a sidewalk, except as may be necessary to enter or leave adjacent property.

    (h) Operate a motorized scooter on the highway with the handlebars raised so that the operator must elevate his or her hands above the level of his or her shoulders in order to grasp the normal steering grip area.

    (i) Leave a motorized scooter lying on its side on any sidewalk, or park a motorized scooter on a sidewalk in any other position, so that there is not an adequate path for pedestrian traffic.

    (j) Attach the motorized scooter or himself or herself while on the roadway, by any means, to any other vehicle on the roadway.
    (Amended by Stats. 2004, Ch. 755, Sec. 8. Effective January 1, 2005.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.