Electric scooters have already descended on Santa Monica, Beverly Hills and other Los Angeles outposts, bringing with them a mix of joy and scorn from residents, businesses and local governments that regulate the vehicles.
Now, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is weighing in. Last week, it passed a voluntary ban on the dockless scooters for its unincorporated areas, asking companies such as Santa Monica-based Bird and San Francisco-based Lime to hold off on deploying their fleets until clear rules are established, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The ban, which is not enforceable, is the latest in a series of restrictions placed on the startups since they entered the market, without first getting permission.
In August, Santa Monica approved four companies — Bird, Lime, Lyft and Uber — to operate a combined 2,000 e-scooters and 1,000 e-bikes after months of negotiations. Beverly Hills, meanwhile, banned the scooters outright, prompting Bird to file a lawsuit.
Motorized scooters aren’t as prevalent in unincorporated L.A. County as they are on the Westside. A Times analysis reveals that only about 5 percent of Bird scooters and 2 percent of Lime scooters are in unincorporated areas.
Still, the scooters have prompted a number of complaints from residents upset with users who ride them on sidewalks, or park them haphazardly.
The board’s proposed freeze comes at a time when the scooter companies are rapidly expanding operations. Bird recently inked a deal for 58,000 square feet at the Colorado Center in Santa Monica. Sources said the lease was signed as the startup looks for more office space. [LAT] — Natalie Hoberman