A Los Angeles city councilman introduced a motion Tuesday to ban the operation of electric scooters until the city drafts full regulations on their use.
The move by Councilman Paul Koretz comes as the City Council is in the process of drafting regulations for the new industry and a week after a six-month ban on motorized scooters went into force in Beverly Hills following a vote by the City Council.
Koretz had previously expressed support for exploring the use of electric scooters in the city, but he told City News Service that was before he got full exposure to them.
“When we had a hearing in our Transportation Committee, at the time I had seen about three of them and I thought it wasn’t a big deal,” Koretz said. “I’ve probably seen a thousand since just on Beverly Boulevard where I live, and 100 percent have no helmet usage. … I’ve seen probably 20 go by with double on the scooter, which is very dangerous. On the commercial streets, everyone is illegally on the sidewalk.”
Dockless electric scooters have proliferated in Koretz’s Westside district, Venice and other Westside communities over the last year through companies like Bird and Lime. The scooters work with a phone app which allows people to find and unlock the devices and drop them off anywhere they are allowed, with no docking station or kiosk required.
The Transportation Committee approved proposed regulations of electric scooters in June which would allow for their controlled growth in the city.
Councilman Mike Bonin, who chairs the Transportation Committee, did not immediately respond to a request to comment on Koretz’s motion, which was seconded by Councilman Mitchell Englander.
Koretz said he felt some council members might be in favor of his motion, while others, including Bonin, might not, as Bonin has so far been a big proponent of their use.
As for the public’s reaction, Koretz said he believed most residents want the scooters off the streets. He said his office has receive hundreds of complaints about them in recent weeks.
The Beverly Hills City Council on July 24 cited many of same concerns as Koretz in directing its police department to enforce a zero-tolerance policy for six months on the use of motorized scooters, which includes impounding the devices and issuing citations resulting in fines, to allow time to consider establishign clear guidelines for their possible future use within the city.
Beverly Hills officials said the use of motorized scooters had dramatically increased in recent weeks, with the police department issuing warnings and citations for riders not wearing helmets, driving on sidewalks in a business district or not possessing a valid driver’s license. Police also responded to several injury collisions involving motorized scooters, and removed scooters from sidewalks and streets when they obstructed normal traffic and created a hazard.
Koretz’s motion does not put a specific timeline on the ban of scooters in Los Angeles, but would direct the Department of Transportation to issue cease-and-desist letters to companies operating them, the Los Angeles Police Department to issue citations for their use, and the Sanitation and Street Services bureaus to remove and impound any electric scooters found in the city and fine each rental company for the removal of the city.