Bird electric scooters are everywhere. You can’t make your way through the city of Los Angeles without seeing someone fly down the road on a rental scooter. These scooters were initially welcomed by the city and its residents as a way to reduce traffic and benefit the environment. However, scooters are frequently operated by inexperienced riders on congested roads. They’ve created quite a hazard and caused a significant number of traffic accidents.
It appears that Bird electric scooters have overstayed their welcome in Los Angeles. As the city struggles to create regulations to reign in scooter use, residents have taken matters into their own hands. Hundreds, if not thousands, of electric scooters in Los Angeles have been vandalized and destroyed over the past few months. Scooters have been set on fire, smashed, thrown into the ocean, and dismantled and spread throughout the city.
Despite the rise in vandalism, Los Angeles hasn’t done much to prosecute individuals for destroying or damaging the scooters. Local police have explicitly stated that their primary concern is for the safety of the people in Los Angles. Protecting property is a secondary concern. The only way to stop the vandalism is to address the scooter problem head-on with strict laws and regulations.
Why Are Electric Scooters Being Vandalized?
There are thousands of electric scooters on the streets of Los Angeles. However, there are no specific docking locations. Users simply download an app, unlock a scooter, and rent ride time by the minute. Once they’re done using the scooter they simply drop the vehicle and walk away. While companies like Bird and Lime encourage its users to leave the scooters in certain locations (e.g., near bike racks or park benches). It appears that these suggestions have fallen on deaf ears.
Rather than stowing the scooters in a safe place, many users just leave them in the middle of sidewalks, boardwalks, bike lanes, and roads. This creates a significant safety hazard. Los Angeles roads and sidewalks are congested enough without the added obstacles of abandoned scooters. Drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians have to use extra care and caution to avoid unexpected obstacles in their paths. Unfortunately, it’s easy to miss a scooter that’s obscured by the buzz and frenzy of Los Angeles traffic.
Distracted Pedestrians and Abandoned Scooters
The fact that scooters have been abandoned on sidewalks has been particularly problematic. Pedestrians are increasingly distracted by their cell phones. It’s difficult to see what’s in front of you when your eyes are glued to a screen. Many pedestrians walking the streets of Los Angeles are very familiar with the paths they travel. They know where hazards exist and how to avoid them. When unexpected hazards arise – such as an abandoned scooter – it’s easy to trip, fall, and become injured.
Los Angeles Needs Electric Scooter Regulations
Residents in Los Angeles have taken matters into their own hands because the city has taken its time to address the growing threat posed by electric scooters. It appears that the spike in vandalism involving Bird scooters forced lawmakers into action. Earlier this fall, Los Angeles introduced new regulations that will directly impact rental scooters in the city.
- Electric scooter companies may now only have 3,000 registered scooters within the city’s limits.
- Scooters may not be parked in a way that blocks pedestrian traffic.
- Companies must find and relocate scooters that are docked improperly.
- Scooters may not be operated on roads with speed limits exceeding 25 MPH.
The city hopes that these new regulations will help to mitigate the problems scooters have caused in Los Angeles in recent years. Vandalism is expected to decline if these new regulations are successful. Residents should have less of a reason to destroy the scooters when there are fewer on the road and their operation is subject to local law.