Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Sidewalk Scooters Endanger Residents, Action is Urgently Needed

This week I was nearly mowed down by 2 guys on scooters ...........

This week I was nearly mowed down by 2 guys on scooters zipping down the sidewalk on Lincoln toward a busy corner. I turned and saw them bearing right down on me showing no intention of stopping for me or my elderly companion who clearly had impaired gait and balance. The week before another scooter brushed past me, nearly hitting me. This caused him to veer into the bushes where he almost ran over a spooked cat. And today I was hit from behind by a cyclist on a narrow sidewalk while dodging 2 scooters near Colorado and 6th. I doubt I am the "only one," and as an experienced urban cyclist myself I am appalled. What is the city doing about this? I hope you aren't waiting for an innocent party to get a traumatic brain injury for which the City pays for life.

My concerns swelled after a friend's experience at a red light, next to a police car. They both saw scooters execute a flagrant violation of law and safety. My friend asked the cop "aren't you going to ticket that?" And he replied "no, we only ticket them if there's been an accident." I don't know if that is that policeman's personal MO, or – as his wording implies – department policy.

Naturally, I have to ask how seriously the city takes the issue of public safety. Knowing this puts the city in a place of liability, and with 'deep pockets' we ALL pay. The flagrant scofflaws who run red lights, run stop signs, go the wrong way in the middle of one-way streets and mow down pedestrians thinking (correctly it appears) that they can "get away with it" need a show of force. I realize the police are spread thin with the burgeoning crime in Santa Monica, so may I suggest you multiply your force with the help of the community. Here's a roadmap:

1. Recruit, deputize, train, organize and equip voluntary citizen teams who are empowered to issue citations in a revenue-sharing arrangement with the city.

2. Use the city's Santa Monica Works app for all of us to report violations with locations to give the police a better idea of the best areas for these teams to target.

3. Energetically publicize this arrangement so those endangering the community clearly understand the legal/punitive risks involved and their likelihood of being nabbed.

4. Work with the scooter companies to update their agreements so rental requires the rider to permit a lawfully issued citation to be charged to the credit card that was used to rent the scooter. Encourage them to levy a 'transaction' charge for their being the middle man in conveying payment of fines to the city.

5. Consider requiring users to take a photo of their parked scooters in order to end their ride. A user can't control what vandals do after he's done, but it could help prompt the prompt-able to think about others before dumping their scooter in the middle of the way.

6. Mount a broad PR campaign to pre-empt whiners. No "bureaucrat legalese." Clear and pithy.

7. Add public education to teach people how to respond with safety and effectiveness to

dangerous encounters with scooters.

Here's a compelling example of why you need to take action now: An older friend who left a store on Lincoln was immediately smacked into by a scooter barreling down the sidewalk. Not only did he knock her to the ground without apology, but turned the blame to her saying "you were moving so fast." !!

I am keen to know the specific steps the city plans to take, and I challenge Santa Monica to lead and show other cities a roadmap to safety in this growing problem.


Deborah Dinsmore

Santa Monica


Reader Comments(1)

GaryZee writes:

Not if but when... I also was almost knocked down walking on the sidewalk by a pair of teenagers riding a bird scooter tamdem and with no helmets. This is a disaster waiting to happen. Will we wait until an elderly couple is killed or a pregnant mother walking with a 3 year old are paralyzed? I even saw a young mother on a Lime scooter being followed by her (under 12 year old) daughter on another scooter. I'm nearly certain that the owners of these scooter companies and their lawyers & insurance companies are hoping that those breaking their rider use rules will be held responsible for the most serious damages caused by the scooters. But Santa Monica and other cities allowing these scooters should not wait complacently and hope tragedy doesn't occur.