One-armed senior citizen resigned from WeHo’s Disability Advisory Board after a row with Sepi Shyne over the polarizing mobility devices.
UPDATE: Mikie Friedman spoke before City Council on Monday:
A few weeks ago, I met with Mayor Shine for coffee to discuss the issue of problematic scooters and other topics. Sepi agreed to conduct a poll to gauge the opinions of residents on keeping the scooters. Although I am unsure what this means, I left the meeting with hope. However, setting up the poll, obtaining funds, and waiting for the results takes time, so I started a petition through Change.org to ban scooters in West Hollywood. As of now, the petition has received 235 signatures. People with disabilities, seniors, and able-bodied individuals have the right to feel safe while walking on West Hollywood sidewalks, but according to the response, many do not feel safe. Some cities have successfully implemented scooters, such as Melbourne, while others, like Paris, have banned them. 87% of Parisians voted to ban scooters. If scooters are to be kept despite the enforcement and infrastructure challenges, it is important to research successful cities and not rely solely on the biased opinions of scooter companies. When I asked Kobe Wegman if West Hollywood was making money from the scooters, he replied that they are not currently making money, but it is expected to change. The quote “The world is too much with us; late and soon, getting and spending, we lay waste our powers” was written by Wordsworth, talking about the Industrial Revolution and money-driven individuals who were greedy and disregarded nature. 220 years later, we are facing a similar revolution, and the question remains: will safety or money win this time?
Mikie Friedman lives on Clark Street just above Sunset Blvd. She is a 76-year old-straight woman who lives with a disability: she has one arm. Mikie also has a best friend: “Stormy” Friedman.
When scooters litter the sidewalk outside of their apartment, it is hard for Stormy and Mikie to walk down the street. They are not alone. Scooters have disrupted the public’s right-of-way on many sidewalks throughout West Hollywood. Between OUTzones, scooters, delivery robots, bicycles, and dogs on leashes, it is often hard for those of us who are visually impaired or mobility-impaired to navigate the “most walkable city. ”
Mikie tried to have a discussion with Mayor Sepi Shyne about the issues she was facing as a person with disabilities, but Shyne, then Mayor Pro Tem, was dismissive of the problem. Shyne’s answer to Mikie, “neither side is wrong” invited Mikie to respond “that sounds like Trump.”
Shyne was not pleased with Mikie’s comparison to Trump and escalated the situation by demanding that disabled Mikie “treat her with respect.” Shyne then forwarded the email to Yola Dore, Mikie’s fellow member of the Disability Advisory Board (DAB), with a kinder message. This led Mikie to resign from the DAB.
After over three weeks, Shyne finally met with Friedman at her apartment last Tuesday to discuss various issues, including scooters. By the end of the meeting, Shyne had, according to Friedman, agreed to ban scooters if a poll of residents showed they wanted them banned.
Mikie let others know about the “deal” through a text message that read, “I asked Sepi to authorize a poll of WeHoans on whether or not they agreed or wanted scooters here. She agreed, and also agreed to abide by the result of the poll.”
My response to Mikie was, “Thanks, but you can’t govern public safety by a poll. The poll will have to be conducted by a research firm and the funds allocated by a vote of the city council. That’s six to nine months of nothing, and Sepi knows that.” I continued, “She needs to bring forward an item to enforce sidewalk safety or find scooter riders or ban them until the technology is available. But will Sepi also agree to hire the Sheriff’s back by a poll?”
Mikie is not staying passive. As a former member of the Disability Advisory Board, she is now leading the effort to ban scooters in West Hollywood, starting with a change.org petition:
Pedestrians, particularly people living with disabilities and seniors are now facing constant danger when they try to walk on the sidewalks of West Hollywood. E-Scooter riders are illegally riding their rented scooters on the sidewalks, and then abandoning them wherever it is easiest. As a result, the inconsiderate scooter riders are both forcing people to get out of their way, and are leaving the scooters blocking the sidewalks. There have already been several accidents and injuries. If they are allowed to continue to operate in our little city, sadly, more accidents will occur and more people will get hurt! The companies which own the scooters, are taking no responsibility, and neither is the city. We need to let the West Hollywood city council know that we do not want to be put in danger every time we try to walk. this is an ADA access issue. We need to let our leaders know how we feel before they vote on whether or not to make this program permanent!
Yes, the Mayor did indeed play a game in this matter. With all due respect to Mikie, the current Change.org petition represents maybe 1% of West Hollywood residents agreeing to ban scooters, clearly a minority. If you conducted a city-wide poll the breakdown would more than likely be less. There are different groups, who do not care and whatnot, but the majority would clearly be in favor of this mode of transportation. Yes, there is the 1% that oppose scooters, with 1% of scooter abusers. Neither one should be the only deciding factor. Scooter companies, now have the ability to… Read more »
Is common courtesy obsolete? These scooters have clearly identified the Neanderthals amongst us.🙄
I went for lunch today at Gracias Madre, and as I was coming out, there were two ladies, who had just parked their car in front of the restaurant, but one could not get out of her passenger side seat because a scooter was blocking it, and she couldn’t open the car door wide enough to get out! Her friend had to come around and move the scooter (with difficulty) so that her friend could exit the car! I introduced myself and asked them if they would consider signing my petition. I hope they do!
Does anyone, other me, find these statistics about scooters unrealistic?
Yes, Stephanie, I find these statistics highly unrealistic. However, it is also true that many people who do have problems with the scooters don’t report it to the city or to the sheriff. They tell each other, which does no good. I happen to know there were more accidents, than were reported in the statistics! And I’m distressed by the amount of citations, or the lack of citations, issued! That I believe!
So, that would make it about 700 trips per day? Here’s my unofficial poll for you all: How many of you see 700 scooter riders per day in Weho? Or even 350 scooter riders twice a day?
It’s gaslighting. All the city needs to do is hire one person for one day to count how many scooters ride by city hall, and how many of those are on the sidewalk. They won’t do it.
Here’s another reason to stop the scooter madness:
Note that the vast majority the e-scooter injuries are minor, where as motorcycles have significantly FAR MORE serious injuries and deaths ❗ Motorcycle accidents have a staggering 80% injury or death rate where as e-scooters even confirmed by your source have a vast majority of minor injuries.
Motorcycles are RARELY ridden on the sidewalks and I would say, virtually 99% of those riders would never leave their motorcycles across the public right-of-way for someone else to pick it up for them. Motorcycle riders need insurance and must wear helmets and must obey all rules of the road…shall I continue??? Do you EVER see motorcycles left by the riders like this photo?
No because the biker gangs are too busy selling drugs like methamphetamines & fentanyl and committing violent racist hate crimes. They are obeying what rules ❓ There aren’t any Abrams Tanks left on the sidewalks (yet) but, American Imperialism is still a serious problem well beyond easily moved e-scooters🛴 ❗
YES, there needs to be an appropriate place for people to put their e-scooters 🛴 when they are done using them. NO, the problems with motorcycles and bikers are by NO means ANY better. May you never make the mistake of working at a biker bar to learn that❗
I know I’ve posted maybe too much about this, but I wanted to remind people that Bird is working on a technology that will stop the scooter if it is on a sidewalk. I don’t know how accurate it will work, when it launches, etc.. Maybe it already has.They are, at least, trying to address that problem.
All, it doesn’t actually STOP the scooter, but I saw a guy riding all the way through the park on a scooter with a loud, electronic voice emanating from the scooter 🛴 shouting, “you are prohibited from riding on the sidewalk” and of course, the rider was ignoring it. I have been trying to think of even ONE other business that would be allowed to leave their goods strewn all over the city and have the city pay Block by Block to pick the stuff up and return it to that business. Heck, stores can’t even have a sidewalk sale… Read more »
Lime promised to do that at the city council 6 months ago to much fan fare by the council. UPDATE: It doesn’t work and it never will.
It seems as though safety and accountability issues such as these would have been required to meet rigid thresholds as their negative effects can be exponential. Bird and others apparently were focused solely on profitability as the latest toy regardless of risk. Companies like this exhibit a disdain for ethics and should not be supported by the public because it puts each rider and pedestrian at risk. The second threshold should have been our municipal government which was absent. That tells the entire story.
I used to live one street over from Mikie and she is lovely and a great historian of the neighborhood. Scooters DO get in the way of our seniors and those with disabilities. I am younger and I think they are useless – not to mention ask any ER nurse at Cedars and UCLA – the accidents have flooded their emergency rooms and made their jobs more difficult!
I just emailed to our City Council a list of 228 signatures of my change.org petition to ban scooters in West Hollywood.
So they will have it when I speak in public comments at the city Council meeting tonight.
Thank you to everyone who has signed and/or shared it. Let’s hope that they hear your voices loud and clear!
I appreciated your public comment, even if I disagree with your approach to this situation. Good luck, Mikie!
Scooters are outrageously dangerous, both to the riders, and civilians! MOST of the riders simply do not care about any common courtesy! They feel they have the right-of-way. They leave the scooters scattered about making walking totally unsafe, especially at night. Their TINY blinking light is impossible to see until one is within 1-2 ft., which is dangerous. They need to be banned from WeHo, especially at night! I wonder what the stats are for them being involved in accidents?
I don’t think it is our responsibility, or from the city, or from the Sheriff, to concern ourselves about the danger to riders (except at-fault motor vehicle collisions). Enforcement, please. I have an orthopaedic surgeon. He has an entire Instagram, concerning scooter injuries. The vast, vast majority are the riders. I’m sure the same applies to bicycles and/or motorcycles. Does anyone ever question motor vehicle operators who are at fault for hitting pedestrians/scooter riders/cyclists? Certainly in not the same regard. I personally do not think anyone should be telling scooter riders what risks they should or should not take, to… Read more »
Randy, why don’t you ar the next election: a) vote for a Sheriff who promises to enforce the law and protect citizens quality of life; b) vote for SupervisorsCouncil Members who will back the Sherriff and not try and undermine their elected authority; c) vote for a DA who will promise to prosecute quality of life infringing crimes to the fullest extent of the law; d) vote for State Assembly/Senate candidates who will put forth legislation that penalizes criminal behavior; e) vote down any ballot initiatives that minimize or reduce penalties for criminal behavior; f) support citizen led initiatives that… Read more »
(a), I’ve done. (b) is not relevant (more on that). (c) is also not relevant. Neither is (d). Appreciate your suggestions, but the lack of enforcement has been an issue, which hasn’t happened, for the most part, since the beginning of the program. And that pre-dates any of the suggestions you made. This didn’t start with the new DA, new members of the Council, or any ballot initiatives, etc.. The Sheriff Department has been too high and mighty to enforce these “low level” laws, for just about the entire time I’ve lived here. Since 1999. I know, I’m a broken… Read more »
Abandoned scooters should be treated like any other abandoned vehicle. After a set time period they should be ticketed, collected by the city’s towing service, stored at their yard, and returned to the corporate owner after all fees have been paid. This should qiickly lessen the problem without expensive city involvement.
EXCELLENT IDEA! THE SCOOTERS OWNERS need to be held responsible.
Great idea ! But will the City Council adopt this?
The scooters are collected every night and taken by workers to be charged. They are then placed back out in designated scooter spaces before morning.
untrue, one in front of my house for the past three days.
Just signed and donated. Too bad we can’t sign a petition to get rid of Shyne, Erickson and Horvath!
We can sign a petition to rid ourselves of Shyne even if only symbolic. It may then reverberate to Erickson. Horvath is beyond our reach at the moment.
“SEPTIC” Shyne needs to be removed from Council.
Good Morning Wehoville Readers! I wanted to take a moment and comment today for several reasons. First of all, I want to thank Larry Block for promoting my petition! He has helped me immeasurably! And I want to thank all of you who have signed! I’d like to give you an update: As of this morning, we have 175 signatures! I’m very happy…but we need more! So the second reason I’m writing, is to ask you urgently to share the petition with your friends, your neighbors, and anyone who owns a business in West Hollywood. (I bet you will find… Read more »
Good morning Mikie. Though I oppose the ban, and lobby for enforcement, I appreciate the effort you are making here. There is a city Council meeting just tomorrow night. FYI for those don’t know.
We also have public safety updates, at council meetings. I believe the last one was at the last meeting. I think it only happens every six months. But we also have a public safety commision. So I encourage people to voice their concerns there. Even if they will probably be ignored.
Hi Mikie-I won’t be signing your petition but I do understand your concern and the dilemma that is created when bad and ignorant actors are allowed to ride about the city illegally without consequence. I appreciate your willingness to consider other alternatives to an outright ban if the rules were enforced – which I agree, they are not being enforced. In my opinion, it would serve us all and resolve most of the issues if the City would do a better job incorporating not just enforcement, but also education and engineering efforts, starting with the most basic, creating more on-street… Read more »
Thank you, Josh, for your thoughtful and honest reply!
If and when WeHoans tells me that scooters, both moving and stationary, are no longer blocking their way, and are no longer a problem, I will gladly end this fight. But until then I can’t.
Bravo, Mikie! You did it. You have elevated the conversation about scooter safety. This is how change happens and you are a true change agent.
Thank you Alan for your kind words! But my question is… Is the City Council reading these comments? If they’re not part of this conversation, then what good is it?
I wish we could have a town hall meeting where we could have an open discussion, not just very limited public comment time with no back and forth! Wouldn’t that be cool?
Some of them insist that they don’t read this (thou doth protest too much, me thinks), but it is clear from their comments on the dais and elsewhere that they do. Excellent idea about a town hall and who says we can’t do it? Let’s brainstorm.
Sure thing, Alan. I think some of them have info passed along to them. Some of them are too busy with their lives, jobs, and Councilmember responsibilities, that they don’t even have time to read these comments. Not to mention that mammoth binder they have to go through, every other week, just to prepare for a meeting. Their comments on the dais does not indicate that they read all of these comments. It partially comes down to which Councilmember you are referring to, and what their life is filled with, including work, and other commitments. I think it is egocentric… Read more »
Mikie, at least 2 or 3 are not. Because they don’t read this site, as it is the lion’s den. If I were in their shoes, I’m not sure I would visit this site, read comments, or content. A wealth of the commenters on here despise them, insult them, and blame them for almost each and every thing they don’t like about this wonderful city. There is also a number of negative op-eds towards them (not necessarily from the owner/editor), or news articles that highlight things that the editors/journalists here don’t agree with, regarding them. They are always open to… Read more »