Electric scooters may face enforced regulations to continue operation in LA
Electric pay-per-minute scooters from companies, like Bird Rides, Inc. and LimeBike, are facing new potential regulations in Los Angeles after facing backlash from a city council member and residents. (Nathan Smith/Daily Bruin senior staff)
Aug. 12, 2018 11:32 p.m.
An Los Angeles city council member proposed banning electric scooters at the end of July until the city begins issuing permits to companies that make them.
City Councilman Paul Koretz proposed a motion July 31 to ban dockless electric scooters and asked transportation officials to issue cease and desist letters to companies that operate them, which would hold until the city settles on long-term regulations.
City officials use cease and desist letters to warn of potential illegal activity and possible consequences for continuing that action.
If the city approves the ban, electric scooter companies such as Bird Rides, Inc. and LimeBike must apply for and secure permits to operate in Los Angeles. The councilman’s proposal would limit each company to 5,000 scooters in the city, with half located anywhere in Los Angeles and the remainder in economically disadvantaged areas.
A spokesperson from Bird Rides, Inc. said that the company is working with city officials and the California Department of Transportation to develop a framework of regulations. California law currently requires riders of motorized scooters to possess a valid driver’s license, wear a helmet and ride on the right side of the roadway, off the sidewalk.
“We understand the issues raised by the council member who put forth the proposal, and we will continue to work closely with policy makers to address safety concerns as the permitting structure is developed,” they said.
Since debuting in Southern California last year, pay-per-minute scooter companies such as Bird and Lime have expanded throughout the state and across the country. However, the dockless scooters have been met with backlash from legislators and community members due to their limited regulations and excessive numbers.
UCLA began issuing warnings to students operating Bird scooters while in violation of traffic rules in February.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the Department of Transportation requested for the power to raise or lower the number of scooters in LA four times per year, depending on the average number of daily riders and whether the companies follow the rules closely.
Some LA residents have tried to reduce the number of scooters located throughout the city by damaging or completely destroying them, according to the Los Angeles Times. The scooters have been set on fire, thrown in dumpsters and dropped into the ocean with little to no reports made to authorities of criminal behavior.