City May Allow Electric Scooters to be Parked on Sidewalks Lawfully
The latest in a series of controversies concerning the tiny electric motor transports
June 5, 2018
The City Council is considering amending the municipal code to allow scooters to be parked on City sidewalks.
At its June 12th meeting, the Council will consider an amendment to the code. As part of overall mandates, Santa Monica encourages electric and other less polluting transportation alternatives.
As a practical matter, many riders who rent scooters from Bird, Lime and other purveyors, leave the vehicles on sidewalks, where the next rider finds them.
While the scooters are popular with residents and tourists, not everyone loves the tiny electric vehicles.
"If we don't want to wake up to find scooters and bikes tossed in our driveways, we have to come out en mass and tell the Council that it is not in the "best interest" of the city to give this kind of license to private operators. It would also set a precedent. How then could the city legally forbid any vendor from using the sidewalks? Santa Monica would look like a Middle Eastern bazaar," wrote local resident Harriet Epstein, in an e mail encouraging residents to attend the meeting and oppose the proposed change.
Bird scooters chirp, hence the name. The electric scooters, while popular and fun, have hardly arrived without controversy. The Bird company began distributing them without any authorization from the City. After a lawsuit, Bird paid $112,000 in fines and agreed to obtain the necessary permits.
In April, the rider of a Bird Scooter was hit by a car and seriously injured, on the corner of Washington and 9th Street in Santa Monica.
Disclosure: The author of this article regularly rents and rides Bird scooters.