City to Devise Rules of the Road for E-Scooters

As rental electric scooters continue to permeate roadways, media cycles and internet memes, San Marino plans to address their local use in an ordinance soon.
The devices — frequently called e-scooters — are popular among those who find them useful to make short, cheap trips without the need of a car and scorned by those who don’t cotton to the scooters’ being scattered throughout communities’ sidewalks or roadways. The scooters run on batteries and are available to rent to anyone with an appropriate app wherever they’re found — which is where the previous user left them.
“We’ve taken some into custody when they’ve been left in the street or blocking an entrance,” said San Marino Police Chief John Incontro. “We’ve had a few complaints, but not too many. When we do, we evaluate whether they’re hazards. Some cities are putting in temporary bans until they can work with the companies on some sort of system.”
The scooters are seen as cheap and environmentally friendly alternatives to paying for parking and navigating Southern California’s notorious traffic. They can travel up to 15 mph and must be used on streets, as are bicycles.
Incontro said his officers have mostly found the e-scooters — whose brands include Scoot, Skip, Bird, Lime and Spin — along San Gabriel Boulevard, which borders an unincorporated county area, but some have been found on Huntington Drive as well.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Jan. 15 directed county agencies to develop by March a regulatory framework for e-scooters in unincorporated territory, tasking officials with addressing the safe operation and storage of e-scooters and other shared transportation devices. L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, a San Marino resident, made the motion for the order in response to the introduction of e-scooters to unincorporated Altadena and East Pasadena, which straddles San Marino, in November.
“We want a collaborative plan that allows operators to provide a viable transit option for our residents while minimizing the potential for public nuisances, safety issues and lawsuits
ultimately paid by taxpayers,” Barger said in a statement after the vote.
Some L.A. County cities, such as Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach, have enacted their own bans on the devices, while others including Los Angeles and Santa Monica have developed pilot programs similar to what the county intends. In addition to issues related to obstructing pathways or crowding areas, there have been concerns about the dangers of sharing roadways with larger vehicles.
San Marino City Manager Marcella Marlowe said the city attorney was working with Incontro on drafting an ordinance addressing e-scooters in town. Incontro said he was generally fine with the use of such devices if it’s done responsibly.
“As long as they’re safely used as an alternative to vehicles,” he said. “I am disappointed that the law was changed so that adults don’t have to wear helmets. You can get hurt running into something at 15 mph.”

Leave a Reply