E-nough: LA County board seeks temporary ban on electric scooters

The dockless scooters from companies like Bird and Lime have had to adjust to a number of restrictions from local governments

Two Bird scooters laying in the middle of a sidewalk in Los Angeles (Credit: Getty Images)
Two Bird scooters laying in the middle of a sidewalk in Los Angeles (Credit: Getty Images)

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.

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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