OPINION | Scooters need the sidewalks

I used to think scooters were so dumb, so I know how you’re feeling.

But I was wrong. Scooters are the future.

They’re fun. They’re cheap. They’re fast. You can go to the bank or Ralphs and get back in the same amount of time as you would in a car.

So scooters are going to take over the world — but what about the sidewalks?

Maybe one day every road in WeHo will have dedicated bike lanes. But until then, scooter riders need to use the sidewalks sometimes.

This is not going to be a popular opinion. I suspect Manny Rodriguez has unfriended me by now.

It’s illegal, yes. But does it have to be?

In many places, there’s no realistic alternative. A trip down Fountain is hair-raising in a car — it’s a death wish on a scooter. On the flip side, there are miles and miles of sidewalks in this town that hardly ever see any foot traffic. What rational person wouldn’t pick an empty sidewalk over a busy street?

So can’t we co-exist?

That’s up to the scooter riders, and we as a group have work to do. 

Leaving a scooter in the middle of the sidewalk or someone’s driveway or under someone’s car is pretty shitty behavior. It’s beyond easy to use the kickstand and park it out of people’s way.

Scooter riders need to take on the responsibility that comes with operating a high-speed vehicle capable of causing serious injuries. It’s our job and in our best interest to yield to the pedestrian, to bikes and automobiles.  

How? Just hop off for a second.

Dismounting a scooter when passing a pedestrian in a tight spot is courteous and it tells people we’re not out to take over the limited spaces available to get around in WeHo. 

Technology is on the way that will force scooter riders off the sidewalks, or throttle our speeds or maybe issue us demerits. We don’t really need a techno nanny state — we need a code of conduct. It needs to become common knowledge what you want us to do and not do. We need big signs, with big arrows and big Xs. 

And the sidewalk question has to be resolved. It makes no sense to prohibit riding on sidewalks when sidewalks are the de facto parking lot for scooters. Nor does it make sense to allow bicycles, whose speed cannot be controlled remotely, to ride on sidewalks while prohibiting the smaller and more agile scooter from sharing the same space. 

WeHo has the chance to write the rulebook on micromobility, while cultivating courteous, law-abiding riders today and especially in the generations ahead. Design a future where scooters and their riders are fully integrated onto our roadways. That would be real progress.

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Arturo
Arturo
15 days ago

Stop encroaching on pedestrian infrastructure.

Bill
Bill
1 month ago

I respectfully and wholeheartedly disagree with this opinion. I support the idea of alternate mobility systems, but scooters on the sidewalks are unsafe and dangerous to both riders and walkers alike.

resident
resident
1 month ago

Scooters were allowed on our streets on the condition that they NOT ride on sidewalks. There’s no reason to change this law, and every reason to completely ban these dangerous vehicles and their irresponsible riders from sidewalks and streets.

Absence of Responsibility
Absence of Responsibility
1 month ago
Reply to  resident

Another example of the City’s abject absence of responsibility. Initiate the latest trend without foresight and absolve themselves of the consequences. Brainless ideas from overcompensated city staff.

Bike Lanes?
Bike Lanes?
1 month ago

A piece of tangential news regarding the San Raphael Bridge. in San Francisco, special lanes were built to accommodate bikes and walkers. Use is way, way lower than expected prompting the city to abandon the idea.

Helen
Helen
1 month ago

The sentiment behind this is completely right, even though I don’t necessarily agree with riding on sidewalks most of the time because the potential of getting hit by cars coming out of blind driveways and alleys feels too risky. But we do have to make it safer to take scooters and bikes and other forms of transportation in LA. Driving in this city is an incredibly frustrating, dangerous, and expensive thing to do, and that’s going to be the case no matter how many lanes we build or preserve for cars. The traffic will always fit the space it has… Read more »

Observer
Observer
1 month ago
Reply to  Helen

Absolutely NOT ! Scooters should be banned – period.

Menacing Scooters
Menacing Scooters
1 month ago

Tonight 2 scooters blocking sidewalk south of Sunset on Crescent Heights. Moments later a Lime scooter whizzed past from behind maximum speed going downhill, then nearly hit two people w a dog 3 buildings south after which he skidded sideways with audible breaking to then nearly hit another pedestrian walking a dog.

A reckless scooter rider nearly hitting 4 pedestrians and 2 dogs all within one block at 8:15pm.

Hello, Mr. Rivas, your scooter program is out of control and a menace to pedestrians in the city.

Weho resident
Weho resident
1 month ago

Scooters belong in the road and on grade-separated lanes. Full stop.

Eric Daniel
Eric Daniel
1 month ago

Scooters should NOT be on the sidewalks.

Joe Bologna
Joe Bologna
1 month ago

Scooters are dumb. Unless you’re five.

Eastside Straight Girl
Eastside Straight Girl
1 month ago

My two dogs & I have almost been run over by scooters numerous times! I do think that because the large % believe they are entitled to the sidewalks, we need to get out of THEIR way! One time, while walking by myself, a scooter and 3 people were coming in the opposite direction. I had to choose who to get out of the way from so that we would not collide. As that happened, the scooter did not slow down, in fact brushed on the side of me again, never slowing down while the 3 people screamed at the… Read more »

voting
voting
1 month ago

A lowlife riding a scooter in front of city hall just blew a horn at ME for walking on the sidewalk in front of him. This 25 year old male nearly hit me as he sped into the Gelson’s parking lot.

There needs to be a substantial ticket fee for riding on the sidewalk. Such arrogance in these young men who think it’s “fun” to indulge their whims at the expense of people.

Joe Bologna
Joe Bologna
1 month ago
Reply to  voting

A 25-year-old man on a scooter and he wasn’t embarrassed?

Josh Kurpies
Josh Kurpies
1 month ago

You’re a brave man Brandon for sharing your opinion on this. I’m shocked to see no one announcing the cancellation of the their WeHoVille subscription, but then again, where else could they bitch and moan in anonymity to an audience. I agree that if all riders operated scooters the way you or I do, then our use of sidewalks would be perfectly safe. Unfortunately, I see many riders lacking any care or common sense which creates legitimate fear in many pedestrians just seeing the devices, ruining it for all of us. What i think all of us (pedestrian, scooter riders,… Read more »

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