City Council heard back from staff members Monday night regarding the dockless mobility program which put electric scooters and bikes back onto WeHo streets last month.
The pilot program has proven to be popular but polarizing. While more than 25,000 rides were logged in July alone, the chaotic nature of the rollout and slim enforcement of the rules have left many residents exasperated.
“They are a menace to me,” said commenter Dan Morin, 77, who told of almost being run over by riders on the sidewalk. “Is it going to take the serious injury of someone or worse a death for the council to stop this madness? Please help us. Please kill this program before it kills us.”
Mayor Pro Tem Lauren Meister grilled staff members on the specifics of how errant scooters are reported and handled by ABM, the company contracted by the city to service complaints.
“They don’t necessarily move them out of residential neighborhoods but they do get reshuffled each morning to the approved parking plan for each company,” said
“Because I’ve never seen them,” Meister said.
Councilmember John Erickson, a longtime advocate of bike lanes and electric scooters, offered firsthand experience as to why riders might be ignoring rules prohibiting riding on sidewalk
“There are places in the city where I would not ride on the street,” he said. “I rode my bike just from my house to Hugos today for a lunch and I cannot tell you how many times I was almost hit by a car. We don’t have the infrastructure and we need to build it, we need to build it faster.”
The city is planning on adding 12 parking stations to the existing 11 in order to keep the devices out of pedestrians’ way.
Councilmember Sepi Shyne wondered why Bird and Lime, the two companies involved in the pilot program, were not able to use already available technologies to stop or slow down riders in prohibited areas. City staff members suggested adding additional providers with that capability at the end of the pilot program.
Councilmember John D’Amico pointed out that stationing scooters in the sidewalks instead of the streets might be confusing for riders.
“If we can target putting the (new scooter parking) locations in the street, it would at least give riders the suggestion that they’re supposed to stay in the street,” he said.
D’Amico made a motion to place future stations in the streets, and for staff members to report back again in 60 days. The motion passed unanimously.
To have an electric bike or scooter moved out of your way in WeHo, please call 213-247-7720. For complaints please contact the Sheriff’s Department at (310) 855-8850.