LA lawmaker wants to temporarily ban electric scooters

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Los Angeles officials are considering new regulations for electric scooters that have flooded the streets of Westside communities, but at least two City Councilmembers want to ban the vehicles.

On Tuesday, Councilmember Paul Koretz, who represents Fairfax, Palms, and Century City, introduced a motion that would ban scooters until LA’s rules are finalized. The councilmember tweeted that “too many” scooter users were riding unsafely, and that the ban would “protect riders and pedestrians” while the city irons out “firm regulations.”

His motion, if ultimately approved by the full council, would require scooter companies to remove the vehicles from streets and sidewalks until they receive permits to operate—permits the city doesn’t currently issue.

The motion was “seconded” by Mitchell Englander, who represents the Chatsworth and Northridge neighborhoods, meaning that the full council will vote on the measure.

Under the motion, scooters would be impounded and police would be asked to issue tickets to riders violating state rules on scooter use, including requirements that riders have valid driver’s licenses, wear helmets, and avoid riding on sidewalks.

Koretz, a member of the council’s Transportation Committee, expressed support for the scooters at a committee meeting earlier this year. But, he told City News Service on Tuesday, that was before the vehicles arrived in his neighborhood.

“I’ve probably seen a thousand since just on Beverly Boulevard where I live, and 100 percent have no helmet usage,” said Koretz.

Until firm regulations are in place to protect riders & pedestrians, I’ve asked the City Council to adopt an interim ban on motorized scooters. Too many riding unsafely: no helmets/on sidewalks/underage riders/double riding, etc. Better safe than sorry. https://t.co/oWu9HjrY0n

— Paul Koretz (@PaulKoretzCD5) August 1, 2018

Alison Simard, spokesperson for Koretz, tells Curbed the councilmember supports the use of scooters for short commutes, as long as riders use them safely.

But commutes are “not what we’re seeing right now,” says Simard. “We’re seeing families saying ‘that looks like fun’ and hopping on two or three at a time.”

Not all members of the council are supportive of Koretz’s proposal. In a statement Wednesday, Councilmember Mike Bonin, who heads the Transportation Committee and who represents Westside neighborhoods, said that the city needs “smart regulations for dockless scooters, not a total ban.”

Bonin has argued that the scooters could serve as an affordable mode of transportation and an alternative to driving for many riders.

“If we are serious about combatting climate change, cutting emissions, or reducing gridlock, we need to put our mobility where our mouth is,” he tweeted Wednesday.

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