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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Latest on the scooter …

By Darryl DuFay

On Wed. March 20th. the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (DOT) held their fifth and last public meeting on dockless “Electric Scooters and Bikes.” Now referred to as “e-scooters” by DOT. Five companies were present: Blue, Jump, Lime, Wheels and Lyft. The meeting took place at the Disability Community Resource Center at 12901 Venice Blvd. It was “gently said” a sales job by the DOT for the e-scooter industry presented to the 35 to 40 people who attended.

The DOT has launched a “One Year Dockless On-Demand Personal Mobility Permit Program” authorized by the Los Angeles City Council. Councilman Mike Bonin’s name is on Motions and committee approvals. Eleven companies have signed up. Here are the remaining six: Bolt, CLEVR, CLOUD, HOPR, Sherpa, and Spin. Each company can initially place 3,000 and more scooters.

Read this article (below) but it does not tell the whole story of an industry that placed thousands of “electric scooters,” a vehicle governed by the CA Vehicle Code, Section 21235, in the City of Los Angeles without a permit. Note: The Vehicle Code says a person under the age of 18 must have a helmet, the DOT says it is not necessary. The Vehicle code says you have to have a valid driver’s license or instruction permit, which is available at 16 and a half. The DOT says the user must be 18. Good luck enforcing that!

The article mentions “two hot button” issues. There is a “third” that has been buried out of sight – ENFORCEMENT! Scooters on the move are under the jurisdiction of the LAPD Western Traffic Division by officers on motorcycles, just like any vehicle, including bikes. They do NOT have the resources to do a proper enforcement. For dangerous riding or “illegally” parking, you can call the Department of Transportation or the scooter company or use the phone app MyLA 311. There are no “signs” for legal parking only a corner map and a few guidelines. And, if the scooter is parked for more than 5 consecutive days without moving it is subject to removal by LA Sanitation.

There are presently NO guidelines for the number of scooters allowed in any area, which you have already seen. In Venice, the closer to the beach the greater concentration as well as along retail areas.

Using GPS the companies know where each scooter is at all times. They have an ability to use a “geo fencing” which “broadcasts” an electronic fence so they can control the use of the scooter. This is of course controversial. Requests to “paint” an area and exclude scooters is meet with “it would be dangerous to immediately stop them or even gently slow them down to a stop.” They pointed out that the rider only needs to pick up the scooter and walk it across the “fence.” They have an excuse not to do anything. The companies are discussing slowing down the current speed of 15 mph to 5 mph, but of course keeping the scooter where they are.

The current maintenance mode of operation is that the scooters are picked up each evening to charge the battery and make any needed repair. They are currently using what are referred to as “independent contractor.” That means if you have a few hours and a means to move the scooters you can make some money. But even that is under discussion because the expertise need for some repairs is more than some contractors have and they are moving to have centralized shops.

Last item: Scooters on Venice Ocean Front Walk and the Bike Path. There is a Los Angeles City Municipal Code 63.44 that PROHIBITS scooters in these recreational areas. The LAPD has enforced it. It extends from the Santa Monica City boundary south to Washington Blvd. by the pier. Problem: There are hundreds of scooters available around this area. The LAPD does not have unlimited resources and needs more help and/or responsible actions by the scooter industry to obey the law.


Comment (1)

  1. David Lasher

    I ‘tried’ to ride my road bike with my wife on the BIKE PATH last weekend. I say ‘tried’as–despite numerous signs announcing that scooters are prohibited on the bike path–dozens of scooters were on the BIKE path from north of the Santa Monica pier to south of the Venice pier. The area around the Venice skatepark was ridiculous. LAPD SUVs drove by on the sand 10’ from the bike path. WHAT IS THE POINT OF ALL THE SIGNS IF IT IS JUST LIP SERVICE? I drove from Porter Ranch to ride 20 miles. We cut our ride short and left–skipping the lunch we were planning in Venice. Venice restaurants and other businesses lost our money last Saturday and we WON’T BE BACK. We can ride in Long Beach or Ventura…no scooters there!! ENFORCE THE SIGNS OR TAKE THEM DOWN!!

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