Yo Dude, Some Birds Aren’t Meant to Be Caged

When the West Hollywood City Council voted on July 9 to ban the rental of dockless scooters in West Hollywood, Councilmember John D’Amico decried the decision.

“It breaks my heart to see that our city is turning our back on young people in this way,” said D’Amico, who noted the age gap between the young supporters of electric scooters and their older opponents. “This is the first time this many people under 35 have shown up for anything,” he said, referring to public comments at the City Council meeting on the proposed ban.

The Bird app showing location of dockless scooters

At last night’s City Council meeting it was clear that young scooter advocates haven’t given up. Twenty-somethings J.T. Parr and Chad Kroeger rolled into the Council Chambers with their scooters, which they then were asked to move outside. But both returned and spoke about the impact dockless electric scooters have had on them and their friends. Their talk, which can be seen in the video above, illustrated both their passion for scooters and the age gap between twenty-somethings and City Council members and the typical Council meeting audience.

Kroeger, who said he’s from San Clemente but loves to “kick it in West Hollywood,” told the Council that his dog, J.T.,  tells him that he expresses his emotions more after a ride. Parr said scooters help riders bond, noting that he gives “head nods” to lots of other writers.

“Can I be real, I’m going through a breakup and my Bird scooter is all I got,” Parr also revealed. “When I’m ripping through the streets, it feels like it is mending the rifts in my heart.”

“Some Birds aren’t meant to be caged,” Kroeger said, using that quote from Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding in “The Shawshank Redemption” to refer to his scooter brand of choice.

While the city has prohibited making dockless scooters available for rent in West Hollywood, that appears to have had little effect on the numbers of them cruising city streets and sidewalks, often illegally with riders not wearing helmets or understanding that riding on sidewalks isn’t permitted.

The continuing migration of Birds (and Limes) into WeHo may be explained by a recent screenshot of the Bird mobile app page that shows dozens of its scooters available for rent on West Hollywood’s borders.

Bird boys J.T. Parr and Chad Kroeger (Photo by Richard Settles)
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J Simmons
J Simmons
3 years ago

I haven’t gotten out much the last month or two, but on the few times I did, I was either nearly hit by a scooter on the sidewalks or else saw other pedestrians and the flow of traffic get even slower as scooters (not even that many) are creating a set up where somebody or some group if people not on scooters, going about their day on the sidewalks, and a small collision could cause serious injury, but the scooter riders drive recklessly fast, play weave I assume for the fun sensation of the powered scooter and gravity swaying the… Read more »

13mikeking
13mikeking
3 years ago

Libby’s against scooters scooters

Mike
Mike
3 years ago

All it takes is for some poor old lady to be killed by a scooter rider and then see what happens.

Randy
Randy
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike

No offense, but I’m sure some old ladies have been killed by cars and bicycles. Did those get banned?

How about the Sheriff’s department enforce the laws we already had in place before the rental companies existed, which included no riding on the sidewalk, the wearing of helmets, and obeying traffic laws?

UCSBGRAD
UCSBGRAD
3 years ago

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTJIpl4Ac6w

Here is a video of these guys at La City Council meeting

Andrea Reider
Andrea Reider
3 years ago

Have our health insurance rates already been raised due to 20-year-olds on scooters getting hit by cars a lot more than they used to.

Pete P
Pete P
3 years ago

All of the people using this story to comment (yet again) on the pros and cons of scooters are missing the broader point of this story – that a small handful of older residents (including the publisher of this website) have an outsized influence on the issues being debated in this City and the actions of the City Council. While these guys were clearly doing a performance piece (bravo), it does not take away from the fact that a huge block of WeHo residents (i.e., those under 35) are absent from the process and are therefore ignored by City leaders.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete P

Influence is in direction proportion to participation. Bravo to the twenty-somethings for their performance art and making their point, but it’s more often the 90-year-old longtime activist who shows up, speaks up, and votes her mind.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
3 years ago

It’s not the devices, it’s the riders! A few rotten apples who don’t follow basic rules of the road ruin it for all. The concept is a good one for any metropolitan area, but absent some basic safety etiquette practiced by all users, they will be seen as a nuisance. Ride in the street, obey traffic signals, wear a damned helmet, and don’t leave them as litter when completing a ride. I’m loathe to rely on anecdote to make a point, but I was mowed down late last week when turning the corner on a sidewalk as a pedestrian–I have… Read more »

jimmy palmieri
3 years ago

When I told a guy who was riding on the sidewalk, no helmet, and no care as to who he might have been crashing into that they weren’t allowed on the street and there is a possible fine, he said, “I’ll bring my ticket to D’Amico….he’ll fix it for me”…….sigh.

Christopher Roth
Christopher Roth
3 years ago

I have not had any problem walking around with scooters. If I could make any suggestion it would be to lower their speed so the rider can’t exceed 10 or 15 mph. I think that would remove some of the fear that some people are feeling.

Manny
Manny
3 years ago

Your perception of speed and danger isn’t very good. The scooters already have 15 mph maximum speed…..A pedestrian walks at 3 mph. Scooters belong on the street as required by law.

James Francis
James Francis
3 years ago

These are a recipe for disaster. So many riders disregard the safety of people on sidewalks and expect pedestrians to give them the right of way or the speed off when the ram through and make sure they as rides have the right of way automatically or will in essence mow down a pedestrian or intimidate them to jump out of the way! I even have them tapping bells and speeding just to put maneuver me! It’s like reckless driving or road rage fir scooter riders who think they are unstoppable or uncatchable! They don’t adhere to traffic laws or… Read more »

Laugh
Laugh
3 years ago

Who knew D’Amico was a director.

rm7831
rm7831
3 years ago

I’ve seen the way they are driven; very dangerously at least in CA, endangering pedestrians and the drivers themselves in areas where there are lots of distracted people. Often in the middle of the road/sidewalk. Often driven like toys, not transportation. Left in the middle of the sidewalk for people to trip over. Left in the exit of crosswalks, making it impossible for those in wheelchairs to even get out off the road. This is crazy CA. “A state bill that would remove the helmet requirement was approved by the California legislature last week and now awaits the governor’s signature.”… Read more »

Josh Kurpies
Josh Kurpies
3 years ago
Reply to  rm7831

“They have even less protection than bicycle riders who at least are required to where helmets and tend to drive them following the rules of the road.” is an inaccurate statement.

The law only requires those under the age of 18 to where a helmet while riding a bicycle.

Scooters on the other hand require a valid diver’s license and a helmet.

Randy
Randy
3 years ago
Reply to  Josh Kurpies

Indeed, and bicycles are allowed on the sidewalk in most places, except where a law has been passed (usually incorporating bike lanes), such as on SMB, west of Flores.

Neighboring City of Los Angeles just passed sensible regulations, although only allowing 3K as a start is way to few, for a city so large.

https://la.curbed.com/2018/9/4/17818812/los-angeles-scooters-bird-lime-rules-regulations-vote

Rick Watts
Rick Watts
3 years ago
Reply to  Josh Kurpies

Of the HUNDREDS of riders I’ve encountered on our streets and sidewalks (MOSTLY SIDEWALKS—ILLEGALLY), I can’t remember the last time I saw a scooter rider using a helmet. As far as I can tell, that provision of their contract is simply intended as an escape clause by Bird and Lime to evade ANY responsibility when one of their riders ends up in a coma as a result of their demonstrably-KNOWN and FORESEEABLE dangerous behaviors putting themselves, others, and the public purse at risk.

Randy
Randy
3 years ago
Reply to  Rick Watts

Rick, I don’t know what you mean by “provision of their contract,” but it is the LAW. Has been, before Bird or Lime even existed. They inform users that they must wear them when signing up, and even provide free helmets to riders, who only have to pay shipping. I don’t think there’s much more they can do here. Maybe our Sheriff’s department should ticket riders who don’t wear them, if this is a concern, since it is the law? I find it much more alarming that helmets aren’t required or provided (not sure how they’d do the latter) by… Read more »

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