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Electric Scooter Shares

Electric scooters are currently a lively source of conversation in and out of City Hall. For the most part, rules and regulations regarding scooters and scooter companies are in development, so this topic is a moving target. As a result, this article will address the primary questions many of us have about scooters, even if the answers are still in process.

What government departments are managing scooter rollouts? 

City Council offices are communicating directly with scooter companies and the LA Department of Transportation.

What scooter companies are allowed to operate in LA? Do any companies have exclusive operation rights?

During a one-year trial period, any company can apply to operate rental scooters. However, the number of scooters plus any other “shared mobility devices” is limited to 3,000 per company (except in Council Districts 4 and 15 where pilot programs had already started). Companies could potentially activate an additional 2,500 scooters in low-income neighborhoods and up to 5,000 more scooters in disadvantaged regions of the Valley. Eventually, these numbers could climb if companies do a good job of working with city government to prevent sidewalk blockages.

Do you have to wear a helmet?

Laws vary by city.

Is there a speed limit? 

LA City Council voted to cap scooter speeds at 15 mph. Lime and Bird have already capped speeds at 15 mph.

May you ride on the sidewalk? In a bike lane?

Riding motorized scooters on sidewalks is illegal in California, and companies must furnish scooters with warnings against riding on sidewalks. The warnings must be in 48-point font minimum.

Where may you leave a scooter when you’re done using it?

Lime explains, “[scooters] can be parked anywhere it is safe to park a bicycle. Do not block sidewalks, service ramps, bus stops and shop entrances.”

What are scooter companies’ responsibilities to the neighborhoods in which they operate?

Scooter companies must staff a 24-hour hotline, and, from 7 am to 10 pm, they must respond to improperly parked or inoperable scooters within two hours.

How do you report scooters being left on your property or obstructing a sidewalk, driveway, etc.?

  • Bird: Email hello at bird.co
  • Lime: Call  1-888-LIME-345 or text 1-888-546-3345

Are scooters taxed?

LA City Council has instituted a $1 “ride away fee” per vehicle to help pay for improvements such as sidewalks and green lanes.

Do you have to be at least 18 years old to ride an electric scooter?

TBD. LA is apparently determining how to enforce state regulations on operator age.

What potential future regulations might we expect? 

  • Mandated technology indicating whether or not a scooter is parked upright
  • Designated scooter parking areas, particularly in high-traffic neighborhoods

Can you get a DUI for riding a scooter while intoxicated? 

Apparently, yes.

Sources

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