WeHo and scooters are on a collision course

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As electric scooters and bikes stormed the streets over the weekend, West Hollywood residents struggled to understand how it had all happened.

Few realized that a plan to allow them to operate within WeHo city limits had even been approved. And many wondered whether City Council had considered all the ramifications of that decision.

How would violations be enforced?

How would electric scooters and bikes share limited space with pedestrians and vehicles?

Who is liable if and when injuries or deaths occur?

Cities across the world are asking these questions, trying to figure out how to deal with the dawning age of “micromobility.”

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In response to the death of a 32-year-old Italian woman in a hit-and-run scooter crash, the city of Paris has banned all scooter use after dark on the Champs-Elysees until July 31 while city leaders evaluate the problem.

Actress Lisa Banes (“Gone Girl”) was also killed last month in a hit-and-run scooter accident when she was crossing Amsterdam Ave. and West 64th St. in New York City.

Comprehensive data on how many scooter- and bike-related injuries occur annually are sparse.

A Henry Ford Health System study noted about 100,000 scooter-related injuries between 2009 and 2019, long before the recent surge in rideshare programs in major U.S. cities. The study noted that nearly one-third of all injuries were to the neck and head. A survey of 100 riders at an emergency room in Washington D.C. showed that nearly three in five were hurt while riding on a sidewalk, including in places where it was prohibited.

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Electric micromobile vehicles are also seeing increased use by criminals.

In London, there was a 50-fold increase in the number of crimes committed using electric scooters — 206 total from January to April 2021, up from four over the same period in 2020.

As this new mode of mobility continues to transform urban civilization, public sentiment hasn’t yet crystallized into a hard opinion.

In Finland, where a crackdown on scooters is currently underway, a survey found that while 70 percent of people thought they were a danger to pedestrians, nearly 80 percent said having access to them was a good thing.

The battle is playing out closer to home as well as abroad.

In San Diego, scooter-related issues rose from 265 in January to 4,158 last month.

Two years ago, the city of Santa Monica and Lyft were sued by an elderly woman who tripped over a Lyft scooter, and a judge allowed the case to proceed.

WEHOville has reached out to the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department for official data regarding enforcement and citations issued.

In the meantime, WeHo residents like Jerome Cleary are trying to adjust to this strange new world.

He was walking near his home a few days ago when a group of six scooter riders swooped in from behind him on the sidewalk, nearly knocking him over.

He’s been warning City Council about the dangers of electric scooters for years.

“Until someone is seriously injured,” Cleary said, “they’re not going to care.”

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California regulated electric scooters in 2019 with Vehicle Code § 21235. The following scooter laws are in effect:

  • You must have a valid driver’s license or learner’s permit.
  • Drivers under 18 years of age must wear a helmet.
  • Scooter speed limit is 15 miles per hour.
  • Scooters can only be driven on streets with a 25 mph or less speed limit (unless the street has a designated bike lane).
  • Riding on the sidewalk is prohibited.
  • Use bike lanes when available.
  • Obey sidewalk regulations.
  • Operate the scooter alone, no passengers.
  • Dismount and walk for left turns.
  • Follow all the rules that apply to motor vehicles.=
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Dominic Friesen
Dominic Friesen
1 month ago

First, this story has not been fact-checked. The hit-and-run accident that killed Barnes did not involve an e-Scooter –it was a moped (often referred to as a “scooter”). Falsely attributing this incident to an e-Scooter operator to fit your false narrative is willful spread of disinformation at best. Second, at the disenfranchisemebt of WeHo residents, City Hall used ordinances to target e-Scooter companies and knee-cap their ability to operate in LA County. WeHo’s central location plays a critical role for all modes of transportation — if automobiles were subject to the same ordinances as e-Scooters were, the impact on commutes,… Read more »

Dr. Joseph
Dr. Joseph
2 months ago

get a job and buy a small , electric car. this scooter nonsense is so arrested development.

Dr. Joseph
Dr. Joseph
2 months ago

I have lived in WEHO since 1979. the once safe, quaint, charming, friendly city no longer exists. The WEHO councilmembers take bribes by developers that have demolished 80% of the beautiful homes built 100 years ago with detail and charm, and WEHO has become a parking lot, and full of mega homes, buildings, hetero clubs that cater to rich criminals who drive out from their Belair mansions on weekends to drive 100 miles an hour at 8 pm and show off. and inconsiderate millenials, meth-heads, molly-heads, narcissistic entitled partiers that park and dance on residential streets at 4 am, steal… Read more »

Dr. Joseph
Dr. Joseph
2 months ago

these should be outlawed. the owners are alcoholics who have no drivers licenses, spoiled rotten teens and the mentally challenged.

Jason
Jason
2 months ago

The streets aren’t bicycle or scooter friendly in areas. To ride on them, especially during rush hour or at night feels like gambling your life. It’s crazy dangerous. People riding on sidewalks isn’t them being disrespectful – it’s them trying to stay alive.

Also, cars are worse than a scooters or bicycles in every way. The uproar over scooters is disproportionate when cars are the leading cause of death for everyone up to age 54.

Manny
Manny
2 months ago
Reply to  Jason

The scooter rider’s problem shouldn’t become the pedestrian’s problem. Riding a flimsy unstable rented scooter is not a good idea to begin with. They are dangerous for the rider and the pedestrian. Don’t do it!

Jason
Jason
2 months ago
Reply to  Jason

Cars are also worse in terms of being parked blocking the sidewalk.

Manny
Manny
2 months ago
Reply to  Jason

Huh?

Dr. Joseph
Dr. Joseph
2 months ago
Reply to  Jason

its probably because you dont have a car, or do not know where to park it sensibly.

pat dixon
pat dixon
1 month ago
Reply to  Jason

not even close, jason. i never tripped over a car because it was tossed on its side like a used beer bottle. scooters are the worst idea considering how we want to encourage pedestrians and look out for the infirm and elderly.

Reality
Reality
2 months ago
Reply to  Jason

Crazy dangerous people seem to enjoy this and because it is all about THEM they castigate folks that use motor vehicles responsibly and have for eons. The analogy you gave is without merit. Please consider acting like a responsible person rather than a10 year old brat. Scooters were not a product or an issue before descending on the public compliments of tech mobility startup bratlings.

Invisible Dan
Invisible Dan
2 months ago

Enjoy!!

Christopher Roth
Christopher Roth
2 months ago

I have neuropathy, This limits my ability to walk to less than a mile at a time. The scooter program is a godsend for me. It allows me to be mobile. I don’t have to get off of the bus and walk blocks I can ride the scooter up to the address where I need to be. I don’t ride on the sidewalk and I don’t run stop signs or red lights. I use the program as it was meant, Don’t punish those of us who are doing nothing wrong.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
2 months ago

If every user was like you I would have no problem with scooters, but you’re the exception. Yesterday, on my street, I saw a guy on a scooter, wearing a helmet, but he was in the middle of the lane and three cars were behind him and couldn’t go around, so he was basically blocking traffic. It seems he should have been to the side of the lane so cars could easily go around. The rider might have been concerned that someone in a parked car may open their door that he would then run into, but it seems that’s… Read more »

Christopher Roth
Christopher Roth
2 months ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

If our city would just bite the bullet and create a designated lane that bikes and scooters are required to use it would solve the problems of riding on sidewalks, accidents from opening car doors etc. A design contest could be held possibly an elevated bike path down the center of Santa Monica Blvd? Reduce Fountain Ave to a 2 way street solving the speeding and car accident issues and devoting the extra lane to bikes and scooters? There has to be a solve here rather than complaining (that’s not aimed at you). There are tons of creative people in… Read more »

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
2 months ago

So you’re suggesting that space for scooters be created by taking away space for cars.

How about we just get rid of scooters?

Problem solved!

Dr. Joseph
Dr. Joseph
2 months ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

I agree, what is this nonsense about scooters? this not Amsterdam, where only 1 in 4 citizens on a car. this is LA, where there are 1.5 cars per one citizen. there is already an abysmal traffic probably in LA, and there are lanes in WEHO for bikes and a stop sign every block for the bikes and pedestrians. enough already.

Dr. Joseph
Dr. Joseph
2 months ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

I agree. Last night in WEHO there were 3 male teens, right in the middle of my driving lane speeding, making circles, stopping, they were drunk, or on weed, thinking that the sunset strip on a friday night at 1 am was their turf. it was pretty scary .

D. Friesen
D. Friesen
1 month ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

The situation you described is as lawmakers intended — the e-Scooter rider was wearing a safety helmet while following the rules of the road. If operating within his lane of traffic results with cars behind him slowing and stopping, the rider is not “blocking traffic,” and the rules of the road do not dictate an obligation to move to “the side of the lane” for the convenience of impatient drivers behind him. Moreover, the rules do not state that e-Scooter riders “accept” the risk of serious injury by careless drivers opening their doors — that talking point has propped up… Read more »

walking
walking
2 months ago

So few scooter drivers are obeying the laws as you are. The 80-90% of scooter drivers who are driving illegally are the ones who are punishing you.

I hope you are able to purchase your own device when scooters are once again banned from the streets of West Hollywood.

Jason
Jason
2 months ago
Reply to  walking

When you drive your car, do you always come to a complete stop at a stop sign? A complete stop at red lights before turning right? Do you always exactly obey the speed limit?

Do you think even a majority of drivers are always obeying the law?

Manny
Manny
2 months ago
Reply to  Jason

We’re not talking about cars.

Reality
Reality
2 months ago
Reply to  Jason

One can never have a rational conversation with an idiot without becoming an idiot.

Dr. Joseph
Dr. Joseph
2 months ago
Reply to  Jason

the kids on the scooters have no impulse control. the brain is not fully developed until the age of 25 in the logical domain. the scooter riders are so reckless at midnight, 1 am, on Fairfax and Beverly they do wheelies. Some drives are reckless, but a person on a scooter, can and will get killed, no helmets worn, and no external protection.

Wes Joe
Wes Joe
2 months ago

Closer to home, a 91-year old man was struck & killed by a scooter in late May in Venice (CA) on Lincoln Blvd

Mecurial Mike
Mecurial Mike
2 months ago
Reply to  Wes Joe

They run right into you! And the scooter patrons don’t care. They think they’re privileged. Special. Entitled.

Carry a cup of coffee so when they are heading for you, don’t move – throw the coffee in their face – then move.

They will hit the gutter and you will just LOL!

Dr. Joseph
Dr. Joseph
2 months ago
Reply to  Mecurial Mike

thats because teens and those under 25 do not have a developed frontal cortex lobe, which makes rational executive decisions. Scooters and those under 25 are a poor fit.

Jamie Francis
Jamie Francis
2 months ago

This is getting too dangerous and Drivers is what they riders on Sunset and Santa Monica Blvd’s to Fairfax crescent heights are not abiding by these laws regardless if the city spray painted signs on sidewalks or the very few signage on poles. These electric scooters and electric bikes are dominating the sidewalks along with the outdoor dining and homeless that is forcing everyday pedestrians to walk in oncoming traffic and we are compelled to do this all the time! I know, I had people almost hit me a half a dozen times with scooters and electric bikes who laughed… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Jamie Francis
08mellie
08mellie
2 months ago

You can write to the mayor and the council at large at council@weho.org, Sepi Shyne at sshyne@weho.org, and Lauren Meister at lmeister@weho.org.

Peter Buckley
Peter Buckley
2 months ago
Reply to  08mellie

Let me tell you, all you get is a “thank you for contacting us, Best, Lauren.” They really don’t care about residents or else they would respect and respond to be WeHoVille.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter Buckley

Allow me to provide that Ms. Meister is extraordinarily responsive to her constituents. Mr. D’Amico will respond (albeit with condescending indifference), whilst the other three sit on their imperial perches and ignore the masses. Shyne is the biggest disappointment because I was expecting better of her. Sad. TRH Erickson and Horvath are lost causes.

Peter Buckley
Peter Buckley
2 months ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

Well in that case I look forward to reading her comments to this article.

Dr. Joseph
Dr. Joseph
2 months ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

Let’s vote them out.

D. Friesen
D. Friesen
1 month ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

The Boy Who Cried Wolf shares your views and complaints re: the Councilmembers — read the room, Alan, and stop being the neighborhood Karen with your laundry list of nonsense at City Council meetings. It is always important to choose your battles carefully and e-Scooters is not the hill you should die on.

Dr. Joseph
Dr. Joseph
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter Buckley

Lauren does not care. she is so uncaring about the city. I have tried. but I will try the sshyne one. thank you.

Respect & Respond
Respect & Respond
2 months ago
Reply to  08mellie

An answer regarding this topic from Sepi Shyne? Maybe. She is too busy to attend to local issues as she just announced a step in her political trajectory: Appointment to the CA Democratic Rules Committee and Delegate for AD50. The stepping stone of West Hollywood “to be involved in making altruistic pronouncements” which give cover for more insidious personal agendas. The rolodex is growing to include Rusty Hicks, Betty Yea et al.

D. Friesen
D. Friesen
1 month ago

The appointment will not distract Sepi from her Councilmember duties nor prevent her from serving her constituents. In turn, it allows her to serve the City better as it facilitates important alliances and expands her network for doing the job she promised to do. Of course, an elementary understanding of local and state politics is needed to understand that “her political trajectory” is not reflective of an “insidious personal agenda” but a savvy, brilliant and strategic political move because lesbian WOC politicians are subject to misogynistic smear campaigns rooted in meritless claims.

JJ1
JJ1
2 months ago

Friday night while waiting outside a bar on the sidewalk with a group of friends and some other people, two people on scooters pushed their way through the crowd -while smoking pot – no “excuse me” no nothing. Perhaps our city is a little too dense for these things. Especially when the majority of riders don’t respect the rules and no one is enforcing them. Come down hard on enforcement and you’ll see people riding them where and how they should be. Don’t, and you’re going to see more problems and a few people get hurt before counsel change his… Read more »

Jimmy palmieri
Jimmy palmieri
2 months ago

Scooters in the street? I have zero problem with. On the sidewalk? They are an absolute menace. My neighbor tripped on one laying on the sidewalk when we were walking our dogs at night. I think there needs to be adequate regulation. It will take one bad accident to wake those in charge up. And sadly, I think it will happen soon.

Dr. Joseph
Dr. Joseph
2 months ago
Reply to  Jimmy palmieri

they are dangerous when they are in front of your car doing wheelies. 3-4 of them at a time? on the street car lane? its absurd.

D. Friesen
D. Friesen
1 month ago
Reply to  Dr. Joseph

Dear God! Stop with the theatrics and gross mischaracterization of alleged reckless e-scooter riders. It is scientifically impossible for your fabricated tale to have occurred “in front of you” — E-scooters’ safety standards are enforced by their designs which are prohibitive of “wheelies.” E-Scooters are not “wheelie”-friendly and prevent riders from flipping backward. Without this design feature, e-Scooter companies would operate under a dark cloud of potential lawsuits seeking accident-related damages; it would be financially impossible to profit due to insurance coverage alone.

You have become the Ben Carson of this forum — book smart but dumb AF.

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