LAPD issues warnings to riders in Venice, and they’ll be back

By Joe Piasecki

On Saturday officers with LAPD’s Pacific Division warned more than 200 electric scooter riders to stay off the bike path and wear helmets
Photo via Facebook by @VeniceBeachPhotos

As Los Angeles City Hall attempts to regulate the proliferation of electric scooters emanating from Westside neighborhoods, public officials are taking at least one page out of Santa Monica’s well-publicized enforcement playbook: no scooters on the beach bike path.

LAPD officers issued warnings to scooter riders last Saturday during a four-hour enforcement popup on the bike path and the boardwalk near Windward Avenue. Riders voluntarily got off and abandoned about 210 scooters in order to avoid citations, according to a briefing compiled by Lt. Michael Soliman of the LAPD Pacific Division’s Venice Beach Task Force.

The community education effort came at the request of L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin, whose district includes Venice. Unlike council colleagues pushing for a citywide ban on “dockless” electric scooters that users can pick up or leave anywhere, Bonin “supports the smartly regulated use of scooters,” said spokesman David Graham-Caso.

“We appreciate that officers from Pacific Division were helping make sure people understood the rules for using scooters near the beach this weekend, and this shows that smart regulations can address the issues people have with these mobility devices while preserving their neighbors’ ability to use dockless scooters as a convenient, zero-emission alternative to driving a car,” Graham-Caso said.

As a staffer for council predecessor Ruth Galanter, Bonin helped craft existing rules against motorized vehicles on the bike path. State vehicle codes require scooter riders to keep off the sidewalk, wear a helmet, carry a driver’s license and not leave them blocking sidewalks, according to Soliman’s memo.

Over the past few weeks, Santa Monica has been impounding scooters along the bike path and warning or ticketing riders there and on downtown sidewalks. Graham-Caso said Bonin is helping to craft proposed regulations for L.A. that would cap scooter fleets, require operators to deploy scooters more equitably throughout the city, establish 24-hour complaint hotlines and impose deadlines for removing illegally parked scooters.

In the meantime, expect to see continued scooter enforcement efforts at the beach, Pacific Division Commanding Officer Capt. James Roberts said.