City Council Will Consider on July 9 Major Penalties for Parking Rental Scooters on Sidewalks

West Hollywood is proposing to impound shared electric scooters left on city streets and sidewalks and levy a $250 penalty on the companies that own them.

That proposal will go before the City Council at its July 9 meeting at which the Council is expected to give final approval to its decision on June 18 to ban the rental of such scooters within West Hollywood. In addition to the proposed $250 penalty for a first offense, the company would have to pay $40 to retrieve the scooter from city storage. The penalty, including a $50 administrative fee, will be $450 for a second offense and $850 for a third offense.

Electric rental scooters parked on Melrose Avenue outside West Hollywood.

The Council’s decision to ban the shared scooters came in a 4-to-1 vote against a plan to conduct a six-month test of a regulated scooter program. John D’Amico was the sole council member supporting the test, which was proposed by the city’s Public Works and Planning and Development Services departments. Such scooters, offered for rent by companies such as Lime and Bird, can be found on sidewalks and leased by using a mobile phone app. They are referred to as “undocked” scooters because they are not stored in designated areas like the city’s rental bikes are.

The ordinance imposing the ban states that “the new and emerging business model of operating shared, on-demand personal mobility devices from the public right of way creates public safety concerns that impact users and bystanders, and contributes to clutter in the public right- of-way. The long-term impacts of this business model are uncertain as the market is rapidly evolving. Whereas this business model may change, the city cannot be prevented from maintaining the public right-of-way in a safe manner.”

The standard rate for renting such a scooter is $1 with an additional 15 cents per minute The companies that own them use GPS tracking to discover where a rider leaves a scooter and then alert other prospective riders to its location. Scooters that are not picked up by other riders are retrieved up by the owner at some point in the day. It is unclear how companies like Bird and Lime will be able to ban riders from leaving scooters within the West Hollywood city limits.

If the Council gives its final approval to the ban, as is expected, it still will be legal for individual owners of scooters to ride them on the streets of West Hollywood so long as they follow state law, which do somewhat restrict their use. Those who rent scooters outside the West Hollywood city limits also can ride them in WeHo. Currently there are dozens of dockless rental scooters resting on the sidewalks of Melrose Avenue, just outside WeHo’s border.

State law requires that riders be at least 16 years of age, have a drivers license and wear a helmet. He is not required to have insurance or register their scooters. Drivers cannot carry a passenger and cannot drive faster than 15 miles per hour. Drivers are required to use bike lanes. However, they can drive on the street if a bike lane is not available. But that’s only if the speed limit for the street is 25 miles per hour or less. That effectively bars the use of electric scooters on most of West Hollywood’s major streets, where the speed limit is 35 miles per hour and bike lanes are scarce.  Sheriff’s deputies have been enforcing the law, with one local resident reaching out to complain to WEHOville that he just received a $295 ticket for riding a scooter without a helmet.

In a memo to the City Council, the Public Works Department said it is “ working with the various operators to make sure that they are proactively removing their devices from West Hollywood so that staff will not have to impound their devices.”

The City Council will meet at 6:30 p.m. on July 9 at the City Council Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd., south of Santa Monica. Parking is free in the five-story structure behind the City Council Chambers with a ticket validated in the lobby.

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Weho48
Weho48
4 years ago

I love them! Point blank, I spend MORE MONEY in Weho businesses because of them. I am not worried about wasting gas, parking issues, parking prices, meters, etc.(which is probably a big reason Duran wants them gone…less meter money, parking garage money, etc.) I always ride them on the street. All there needs to be are penalities for riding them on sidewalks(tickets) and leaving them in “annoying areas.”(easily checked by the company) and a way to report them to the company. It’s simple. Why does our “progressive” city condemn “innovation?” It’s sad that living in WeHo I have only seen… Read more »

Ken Howard
Ken Howard
4 years ago

I want a special City ordinance that exempts people from assault charges if you knock one of these Narcissistic scooter riders on their ass on purpose if they run into your path on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk. Normal people walking on sidewalks are NOT walking at 15 mph, so the scooters shouldn’t be going that fast, either. And they are ALWAYS on the sidewalks, not the streets or bike lanes. This is a new and very bad “fad” that endangers both pedestrians on sidewalks and cars in intersections and at crosswalks. They enter crosswalks at high speeds, much… Read more »

RMD
RMD
4 years ago
Reply to  Ken Howard

Agreed!

Ty Geltmaker
Ty Geltmaker
4 years ago

What’s the problem? Just pick them up by the truckload and send them to the dump.

RMD
RMD
4 years ago
Reply to  Ty Geltmaker

Perfect!

Robby Dobby
Robby Dobby
4 years ago

Good. The menace these scooters represent has grown exponentially in just the last week. They’ve been left blocking sidewalks and are ridden with little to no care for the other people using the right of way. I’ve had to move the d*mn things just to be able to pass on the sidewalk. Those who thing this fad is great are showing no concern for others or for the rules of the road. Tickets are long overdue. Impounding them is a great idea. Now, if the City would only enforce the AirBnB laws as vigorously we’d be on the right track…

Randy
Randy
4 years ago
Reply to  Robby Dobby

Indeed, the AirBnB ban isn’t enforced very well by the City. That is more complicated because it takes more time and resources. I guess city staff has to try booking a place, and then catch someone in the act. If this passes, I’m not sure how well they will enforce this either. I guess it is as simple as sending a vehicle out each day to look for scooters and pick them up and impound them. Sit in front of Starbucks and see how many people ride bicycles on the sidewalk (where that is unlawful), each and every day, each… Read more »

RMD
RMD
4 years ago
Reply to  Randy

Come on, if the owners of these toys cannot prevent where their property is abandoned they should rethink their business plan. If Trader Joe’s can limit where their shopping carts travel, so can these geniuses.

Joey
Joey
4 years ago

I love these scooters! I am here to voice my support for more education and out reach on the California Laws.

Must wear a helmet
Must ride in bike lane, when no bike lane must be on streets where speed does not exceed 25MPH
Must carry a valid drivers license

This also shines more light on the lack of bike lanes in West Hollywood.

Also want to point out these scooters can’t go above 15MPH, they are throttled.

RMD
RMD
4 years ago
Reply to  Joey

Do you live within the city limits of the City of West Hollywood? If not your opinion & support are meaningless..

Jklm34
Jklm34
4 years ago

And can there be an app for us to report where we find these abandoned scooters.
(Those left unattended late at night and thrown haphazardly on our sidewalks/parkways).
Together the community can get these dangerous scooters off our sidewalks.

Thanks.

Randy
Randy
4 years ago
Reply to  Jklm34

The city already has an app for reporting things like this, which also includes noise complaints, furniture abandoned on the sidewalk, etc..

Jklm34
Jklm34
4 years ago

GREAT news! Definitely impound these scooters and fine the companies. I experienced 3 of these during a walk the other night. One was a scooter drivers who was going fast down the sidewalk and actually said, “wow, these go 20mph!” The other was at Melrose next to the former Steven McQueen store. It was in the entry to the crosswalk so anyone walking across the street would have to leave the crosswalk to continue walking, a wheelchair would not be able to get out of the crosswalk as the scooter was blocking it. Third, I saw one on Kings road… Read more »

RMD
RMD
4 years ago
Reply to  Jklm34

Agreed!

UCSBGRAD
UCSBGRAD
4 years ago

Good riddance to the scooters!! People don’t obey the rules and ride on the sidewalk and are reckless with them. When people are done riding the just throw scooter on the side of the road and then sit like giant pieces of trash until the next person decides to scoop up the scooter and go ride on the sidewalk again.

BK
4 years ago

I think the City is overreaching with this issue. Clearly, the is a need and want for this service. Yes, there are some folks that hate them and maybe exaggerate a little about being run off the sidewalk, but for a city that claims to be progressive and creative, it’s lacking with this one. The city staff recommended doing a test program, which would have helped with addressing all related concerns, the public clearly wants the service, however, our elected leaders seem to feel that is a concern and punish innovation. Reminds me of when Uber and Lyft came rolling… Read more »

Manny
Manny
4 years ago
Reply to  BK

The city staff DID NOT recommend a pilot program. Staff gave the council two options for CONSIDERATION, without a preference……Pilot Program or Ban.

After much deliberation, the Council wisely and for good reasons chose a ban.

Facts matter.

Randy
Randy
4 years ago
Reply to  Manny

Looks to me like they recommended outlawing UNPERMITTED scooter operations but ALSO develop a pilot program, so they could seek out a way to regulate these (like Santa Monica did). 1) Staff recommends the City Council adopt the following ordinance: Ordinance No 18 : “AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF WEST HOLLYWOOD AMENDING TITLE 11 OF THE WEST HOLLYWOOD MUNICIPAL CODE TO DEEM THE OPERATIONS OF AN UNPERMITTED SHARED ON-DEMAND PERSONAL MOBILITY SERVICE UNLAWFUL, CITYWIDE;” 2) Direct the Planning and Development Services Department and Code Compliance to work with the Transportation Commission to develop a pilot… Read more »

BK
4 years ago
Reply to  BK

Manny, so you are clarifying that staff did offer an option for a pilot program, is pretty equal to a recommendation. You may be splitting hairs. Plus are you not someone who has been a vocal opponent on this issue?

BK
4 years ago
Reply to  BK

First off, I find the use of these scooters to hold practical value, they fill the void of the last mile commute very effectively and fun! I am also very confused as to the sidewalk nuisance comments I read here. I live near Palm and Santa Monica Blvd, which is a high pedestrian area. Yet I have not seen any real issues with the scooters. No one is being run over, there are not zipping all around, it has not been a scooter war zone of any type. Frankly, I find myself more annoyed have to step aside for a… Read more »

Randy
Randy
4 years ago
Reply to  BK

BK, precisely. It is one thing to say “I think that they should be outlawed because of …” (list your reasons here). Another thing, all-together, to generalize and classify everyone into groups, and say things like “everyone NOT on one doesn’t approve,” or that “on demand scooters are used exclusively for recreation, and as a joy ride.” EXCLUSIVELY. These are not statements of “opinion.” They are misleading assumptions of absolution, and I don’t think he even believes they are true. But he can continue to make his arguments however he wants to. Make everyone aware of your opinion, but don’t… Read more »

Zander
Zander
4 years ago

I’m sure the city would be all about this if they were profiting off of it. But in order to save face after the disaster that is the weho city bikes, here we are. For a city that is extremely limited on parking this is laughable. Let’s get cars off the street to limit traffic instead of getting more on the streets. This is why other city’s continue to thrive and grow, while the only thing we’re growing in are crime and high rent. As a city resident, I’m lucky enough to work a few blocks from my employer. Unfortunately… Read more »

Jim Nasium
Jim Nasium
4 years ago
Reply to  Zander

So why don’t you just buy a scooter for these short trips to work? It will save you money in the long scoot. I’m just curious.

Joey
Joey
4 years ago
Reply to  Jim Nasium

I have no place to store a scooter at my tiny single unit. I have no desire to take on maintenance and care of a scooter either. This is so appealing to me especially once the Summer warms up my morning walks to work. I would love to just hop on a bird and get to work fast. This would cost me less than $2.00 to ride to work.

Andrea Reider
4 years ago

I’m trying to keep an open mind on this issue, but at least six scooter drivers forced me off the sidewalk when I was walking around West Hollywood today. I obliged rather than risk being hit by one of them.

Luke W
Luke W
4 years ago

The city drives me crazy how often they create regulation to do the opposite of what the public wants. Clearly there is a demand for this type of service or it wouldn’t be as wildly popular as it is. The people want it! It feels like in part that the city is bitter their own shared bike service failed due to this prohibitively expensive rates.

Manny
Manny
4 years ago
Reply to  Luke W

I’m sorry to break this to you “Luke W”, but…..You Can’t Always Have What You Want.

PLUS: You see all those people NOT riding scooters? They don’t want them.

Randy
Randy
4 years ago
Reply to  Manny

Is this a scientific survey, or another speculative, grandiose statement on your part? Like when you said “on demand scooters are used exclusively for recreation, and as a joy ride?” (I’m assuming you are the same Manny who spoke at the last City Council meeting, and if so, I can refute the statement made there by my own use of them, and by other people I know.) If you did a survey, I’m sure we’d all like to see how large the sample was, and the methodology involved. If you saw me walking down the street, you’d be wrong, because… Read more »

Manny
Manny
4 years ago
Reply to  Randy

Randy, it goes without saying that this is all my opinion and your opinion. You either agree or not. In the end, it was the Weho City Council’s opinion that mattered.

I would suggest you now have this debate, and offer your strong opinion, to your City of LA Council Members. Maybe they will agree with your opinion.

Randy
Randy
4 years ago
Reply to  Manny

No, sorry, Manny, statements like “on demand scooters are used exclusively for recreation, and as a joy ride” and “You see all those people NOT riding scooters? They don’t want them.” do not sound like statements of opinion, but factual statements.

As you said in another comment here, “facts matter.”

Now I understand that those are your opinions, but I’m just saying that it might be better if you didn’t make unfounded absolute statements, as though that is the truth, when it is really just your opinion.

RMD
RMD
4 years ago
Reply to  Manny

Agreed!

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