Bumpy road ahead for e-scooters, WeHo pedestrians

The reintroduction of dockless mobility onto city streets (and sidewalks) this month was a stark reminder that integrating this mode of transportation into West Hollywood won’t be easy.

Many residents fear that between dockless mobility and the Outzone program, which cedes sidewalk and curb space to stores and restaurants, the WeHo pedestrian now faces a number of greater dangers.

While neighboring Los Angeles permits e-scooters, West Hollywood forbade them until just this month. In 2018, the push to bring dockless mobility into the city hit a brick wall when a rogue marketing stunt by Lime, in which 50 scooters were dropped unauthorized and unannounced throughout WeHo, drew the ire of City Council, which quickly had them banned.

Last summer, city staff were working to save the city’s faltering bike program when they floated the idea of lifting the e-scooter ban to City Council. Several of the scooter companies also offered e-bikes. City Council approved an ordinance allowing scooters back in January, and the pilot program began its 90-day test run on July 1.

While e-scooters and e-bikes might be popular with tourists, teens and the business community, many WeHo residents want to pull the plug on the program.

At issue are the sidewalks. Scooter and bike riders aren’t allowed to use them there, nor are they allowed to leave them in the way of people or cars.

But they do.

And while they’re ticketable offenses, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department hasn’t been handing out citations.

Myra Mikie Freedmn is 77 years old and disabled. She has only one arm and her balance is very poor, which makes it tough to walk her big German shepherd named Stormy. She’s already having to navigate around scooters that riders have discarded on her sidewalk. And Stormy gets spooked when rowdy kids whiz by.

Freedman and many others have taken to Facebook to voice their frustrations. Freedman says she e-mailed her concerns to Councilmember John Erickson, who directed her to the parking enforcement department.

“I’ve been called a Karen on social media,” she says. “It’s not true. You have people with strollers, people with pets. I have two artificial knees that aren’t made to withstand a fall. I hate living in fear of this.”

Erickson was one of the most vocal backers of the e-scooter initiative, saying he kept hearing the same request from constituents over and over again on the campaign trail last year: “We want scooters.” He glossed over any downsides in an interview with the Beverly Press.

“We can’t let the actions of a few bad actors scare us off from making better transit opportunities for our residents,” Erickson said. He told the news outlet he hadn’t heard of any injuries related to the recent launch.

On social media, WeHo residents brainstormed ways that City Hall could tackle the problem.

“Why can’t the users be auto-fined $100 if they leave these in the public right of way?” wondered Sam Borelli on Facebook. “The technology is there. All three of these on my morning walk at 4am, all on the north side of Sunset Strip between La Cienega and Holloway. That’s half a mile. I am NOT anti- scooter/bike. I am about personal responsibility, especially if someone in a wheelchair or with a walker might not be able to pass. Fine them.”

Manny Rodriguez despises the attitude the scooters engender in riders.

“The on-demand business model is about unaccountability and non compliance,” Manny Rodriguez wrote on Facebook. “It is about impulse and anti-social disposability. All unenforceable behavior.”

“So much for a ‘Walkable City!'” quipped Jeffery Ward.

In 2013, West Hollywood was named one of “America’s Most Walkable Cities” on Walk Score’s annual list.

The citywide corrals where riders are supposed to be leaving their e-scooters or e-bikes.
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Davedi
Davedi
2 months ago

Scooters are fairly inexpensive. If this is your preferred mode of travel just buy one. But I guess in our disposable society it’s just easier to hop on one and dump it on the sidewalk when you get where you are going.

Alex
Alex
2 months ago
Reply to  Davedi

Nobody “dumps” their scooter when they’re finished using them. I’ve seen homeless kicking the scooter out of rage unprovocked. Get rid of the homeless and drug users in your city. Problem solved.

Observer
Observer
2 months ago
Reply to  Alex

Wrong ! Many, many times I’ve seen what appeared to be people who were not homeless or on drugs just leave their scooter in the middle of the sidewalk and walk away.

Mark
Mark
2 months ago
Reply to  Alex

Oh, folks most definitely dump them.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
2 months ago
Reply to  Alex

While sitting at the light on Crescent Heights and Melrose I watched a girl lay her scooter on the sidewalk and then cross the street. You can read about it below where I commented on it a few days ago.

Brian
Brian
2 months ago
Reply to  Davedi

Lol I bet this guy has 3 cars!

Observer
Observer
2 months ago

I’ve had very near misses with scooters. You can’t hear them coming up behind you. And many are going much too fast. It seems inevitable that pedestrians will be injured or, worse, killed. If that horrible situation should happen, there will be lawsuits brought against the City and perhaps even the councilmembers who advocated them. So, please abandon this inane idea or eventually you will be in court.

Reality
Reality
2 months ago
Reply to  Observer

Too many individuals that live in Weho continue to prove that they are incapable of responsible behavior, unable to take personal responsibility for them selves, consequently we have juvenile behavior at multiple levels from the street to the council dais. Basic critical thinking is absent encouraging rolling complaints which never find solutions. “Who cares if my gardener’s (?) leaf blower annoys my neighbors and pollutes the air and leaves the ground hard as cement?”. “Who cares about speeding, lack of building inspections, the sheriff are on a permanent vaca and code enforcement likewise.” The City of Pride cancels itself and… Read more »

Frank
Frank
2 months ago

I ride the scooters. I usually ride them in the street. Sometimes when the road is crazy or I’m nearing my destination, I ride them on the sidewalk slowly and carefully. When I park them, I park them upright and out-of-the-way. Completely out of the way. I understand that people do not always do this. Also crazy people just push them over because we have so many mentally ill people on the streets. Unless the scooters are banned, they will continually be ridden on the sidewalks, continually parked Willy-nilly, and continually be yet another dangerous nuisance for pedestrians. The companies… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Frank
Manny
Manny
2 months ago
Reply to  Frank

Frank, you seem like a very reasonable and responsible scooter rider, and sound more like a scooter owner than a pay as you go rider. Wouldn’t it be great if all, or at least 60% were like you? Although I would ask and suggest that when you’re close to you destination that you walk your scooter on the sidewalk not ride it. The idea of a “fun public campaign” to encourage safe and lawful riding sounds good to you because that’s the kind of guy you are and one that looks at community in a positive way. You understand that… Read more »

pedestrian
pedestrian
2 months ago
Reply to  Frank

Glad that you “usually” ride them in the street, but to the rest of us you’re just one of the rude and irresponsible folks riding illegally on the sidewalk.

Chloe Ross
2 months ago

By the way. If this is another try at Scooters Weho – then it is not really a pilot programm. Is it?

Chloe Ross
2 months ago

As a debut program (redux) of a newly seated councilperson it didn’t work once; there was no reason to imagine that reinventing the wheels – literally- would be a good idea AGAIN. It wasn’t and it isn’t. Requesting Lime to retrieve their abandoned scooters is not my job. And Lime – although pleasant – delivers psychobabblonian rhetoric before they tell you to have a nice day. This was a bad idea once and it has not improved with a second try. It is not even a new idea. My suggestion is that ideas advanced by new councilmembers be, at the… Read more »

Susan
Susan
2 months ago

Yet another reason I am not an Erikson fan. I wish he would do his research instead of acting as if issues were a PC popularity contest.

Brian
Brian
2 months ago

We are a big city with big city needs! Vehicle Traffic is a lost cause and commutes are getting worse. I understand the challenges of the elderly and disabled but what sidewalk is not a challenge already? I need the extra travel option to get around LA. I have to pay my rent (how much rent does a lot of the older community pay and they have time to walk to all their destinations during a typical day) We are not unique in having problems with scooters. We are supposed to be a better thriving community for everyone! If there… Read more »

voter
voter
2 months ago
Reply to  Brian

This comment epitomizes the selfish point of view of the young people riding these dangerous vehicles on sidewalks and streets. Thanks for explaining it to the rest of us!

Frank
Frank
2 months ago
Reply to  voter

You’re welcome, grumpy gramps!

Me, myself and I.
Me, myself and I.
2 months ago
Reply to  Brian

Me, myself and I. Endless complaints, have you thought up a solution broader than your self interest?

DANNY
DANNY
2 months ago

BUILD PROTECTED BIKE LANES AND SCOOTER DROP OFF AREAS. THE LAUNCH ALL THE PROGRAMS POSSIBLE TO GET PEOPLE TO DRIVE LESS… IT’S PRETTY DAMN SIMPLE… CARS SHOULD NOT RULE, THEY ARE KILLING US…

Jimmy palmieri
Jimmy palmieri
2 months ago

These sidewalk pollutants belong in the street. They block the right of way for pedestrians, disabled, and seniors. They are a nightmare. We now have bikes, scooters, segues, and skateboards to try to dance around. I’m waiting for circus elephants, skis, sleighs and go carts to be given the OK next.

Brian
Brian
2 months ago
Reply to  Jimmy palmieri

Well your generation welcomed the cars to replace the trains!

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
2 months ago

Just because you CAN,
doesn’t mean you SHOULD!

These scooters might be a convenience for some people
but we can get along just fine without them.
Too many downsides!

Christopher Roth
Christopher Roth
2 months ago

Unfortunately I must tell you that I have seen more than once scooters parked properly out of the way moved by disgruntled residents either laying down in the curb or laying down blocking the sidewalk. It seems that some are trying to sabotage the program. Shame.

Randy
Randy
2 months ago

You are absolutely correct. Anybody who uses this method of transportation knows that you have to take a picture at the end of your ride. Also, these newer scooters have very firm kickstands. They aren’t even kickstands. There is a big metal bar, right underneath them, that is firm. So I’m guessing “scooter haters” make up a high percentage of people purposely knocking these over. And some are the same people who complain about disturbing the right-of-way.

Frank
Frank
2 months ago
Reply to  Randy

Insane homeless people like to take out aggressions on them too

True or False
True or False
2 months ago

Prove it.

Christopher Roth
Christopher Roth
2 months ago
Reply to  True or False
True or False
True or False
2 months ago

LOL That’s from 2018!…..You’re living in the past.

Randy
Randy
2 months ago
Reply to  True or False

And you think it doesn’t still happen? My friend posted a picture of one hanging from a tree, right outside of High Tops, just last week. Do you think the scooter driver put it there? I don’t understand why this enrages people so much in WeHo. I live right above Melrose. Scooter epicenter. I rarely see them on the sidewalk, most are parked correctly, people ride with traffic, they especially stay off the sidewalk on the suburban streets, because it would take longer to get everywhere. Melrose has sidewalks that are 1/2 or 1/3 the width of Santa Monica Blvd.… Read more »

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
2 months ago

What is the law exactly for riding bicycles and these scooters on the sidewalk? Is there a law against it and it’s just not enforced, or is there just no law?

In NYC anyone caught riding a bicycle on the sidewalk gets a ticket, and I saw it happen many times.

Manny
Manny
2 months ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

In West Hollywood all motorized devices are prohibited on the sidewalk at all times whether there is a bike lane available or not. That includes peddle assisted bicycles. There is no enforcement of this law and currently no will by city leaders to change that.

Sensibility
Sensibility
2 months ago
Reply to  Manny

No enforcement of leaf blowers for years. Why have laws in West Hollywood at all? We have a pretend city with a pretend city council. Childs games. An award winning anomaly.

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