Morning Links: Scooter no more — Bird and Lime get the boot from LA, and weigh in on the future of LA County

It was nice while it lasted.

LA’s scooter boom appears to be coming to an end, at least for the foreseeable future, as neo-luddite members of the city council force their removal from the streets in most areas.

Even though the council’s Public Safety Committee voted unanimously against an e-scooter ban proposed by self-proclaimed environmentalist Paul Koretz.

Instead, LADOT will be sending out cease-and-desist letters to Bird and Lime demanding that they immediately remove their scooters everywhere in the city, except for a handful of approved pilot areas.

Not that we’ve been told where those might be.

However, Streetsblog’s Joe Linton suggests we might still see scooters in the districts of some of the more supportive councilmembers, such as Joe Buscaino, Mike Bonin and José Huizar.

On the other hand, you can expect every single scooter to be pulled from districts represented by Koretz, Mitch Englander, David Ryu and Mitch O’Farrell. (Correction: Linton says in a comment below that Ryu has been supportive of scooters and bikeshare, so there may be hope for his district.)

In fact, here’s what O’Farrell said in committee yesterday.

…Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell weighed in today in very clear opposition to scooters, saying that e-scooters are “endangering the public” and that he expected them to cause a “terrible tragedy” to happen at “any moment.” O’Farrell called for rules much stricter than apply to cars: “immediate impound” of e-scooters blocking rights-of-way, with “no limits on confiscation.”

Maybe someone should point out the terrible tragedies caused by motor vehicles in his district on a daily basis. And his own opposition to the planned Complete Streets makeover of Temple Street.

The current scooter ban is based on a motion quietly approved in March in response to dockless bikeshare, but which Linton says is broad enough to cover scooters — and virtually any other form of transportation.

In her August 16 L.A. Times article L.A. officials moved to ban rental scooters in March. So why are they everywhere? Laura Nelson broke the news that the L.A. City Council, in a discussion on dockless bike-share, approved an an amended motion (council file 17-1125) banning “dockless transportation programs.” The motion, approved in March, reads in part:

“IMPOSE a moratorium, with the exception of existing pilot projects initiated either through Council motion or with the Councilmember of the district’s support, on dockless transportation programs until a regulatory system that protects Los Angeles communities can be established.”

As the Times reports, the language was intended as a ban on new dockless bike-share, but that “the language was broad enough to apply to… Bird and Lime scooters.” The language may arguably even be broad enough to ban cars, buses, airplanes, skateboards, privately-owned bicycles, and maybe even shoes, escalators, stairs… but the issue before the council is e-scooters.

That means you can expect the extremely popular Lime Bikes to disappear from the CSUN campus, as well.

Linton reports that the scooters, and possibly dockless bikeshare, could be back on a more limited basis — most likely after the first of the year, following a 120-day waiting period once new regulations are approved by the full council.

But it’s yet another example of some LA councilmembers failing to support alternative transportation in any form, as well as anything that inconveniences drivers in the slightest.

And more hypocrisy from elected officials who claim to be concerned about climate change and the environment, but seem to go out of their way to keep Angelenos in their cars.

As Santa Monica and Long Beach have shown, it’s possible to work with scooter and bikeshare providers to develop effective regulations while keeping them on the streets, and in the hands of devoted users.

And keeping those users out of their cars, Ubers and Lyfts.

But that makes too much sense for our city council to even try.

………

As long as we’re talking scooters, let’s keep going.

Students at San Diego State University are quickly adopting to e-scooters and dockless bikeshare, while racking up tickets for violating the rules governing their use.

A Portland-area paper lists the city’s five most aggrieved complaints about scooters.

A Houston columnist says the alternative to automobiles is here, and its name is Bird. Which is probably why LA is banning it.

New York city councilmembers are drafting legislation to bring scooters to the streets of the city before a key subway line shuts down early next year.

………

Here’s your chance to weigh in on the future of LA County.

Metro is working with a program called Our Next LA to gauge what matters to area residents on a neighborhood level.

First up is a very brief explanation of the program, with a simple one question survey asking what you’d like to see in the near future.

Like maybe safer streets and an actual bikeway network crossing the city and county.

That’s followed by a more detailed, 10-minute questionnaire aimed at capturing the needs of specific neighborhoods while ranking priorities on spending and urgency.

Thanks to Mike Kaiser for the heads-up.

………

Local

The LACBC is asking for your suggestions on improvements needed for the My Figueroa project before it officially opens next week; they point out a number of problem areas, including confusing signals and cars parking in the non-protected sections of the bike lane.

This is who we share the roads with. Hip hop DJ Big Boy had to be held back after he was the victim of a pants dropping, falling-down drunk driver in Calabasas Tuesday afternoon. To top it off, the driver — who took a swig of vodka from the driver’s seat right afterwards — is a prosecutor with the DA’s office, who is currently on leave for reasons that would seem to be painfully obvious.

 

State

Caught on video: The CHP busted a woman for riding her bicycle in the traffic lanes of San Francisco’s Bay Bridge during rush hour traffic; she was taken to a mental health facility for evaluation.

Nice long read from Bike Magazine says Mammoth’s two-wheeled history of firsts is propelling it to a fat tire future.

 

National

Bike Snob offers four tips to become a mindful bike rider.

The rich get richer. Portland is repurposing 210 underutilized parking spaces as space for new bike lanes as part of a $3.27 million road repurposing project. Oops. As James points out below, this is from the other Portland, the one in Maine. But it’s still probably more bike friendly than most of SoCal, where parking is sacred.

Good read from a Boise, Idaho writer who describes what it’s like to have your bike stolen, after someone snatched his unlocked Surly. And how he got it back thanks to Bike Index, his local bike shop and an observant cop. Do I really need to remind you yet again to register your bike before it gets stolen?

After a homeless Arkansas man’s bicycle was damaged in a crash, a kindhearted woman gave him her own bike, while a cop at the scene bought him a meal at a drive-in.

Wisconsin planners say bike paths are good for businesses and neighborhoods, noting that a nearby bike trail increased property values by 9%.

No bias here. Chicago police refuse to ticket a bus driver who hit a bike-riding tiki bar bartender in a left cross because “both vehicles had the green” — even though the bus driver clearly failed to yield the right-of-way.

A Pittsburgh paper marks the 25th anniversary of the city’s bike festival by remembering the bad old days, and saying drivers should thank bicyclists, not curse them.

You’ve got to be kidding. A postal carrier parked in a New York bike lane called the police because a bicyclist was blocking her path. And when the police showed up, they told the rider that mail carriers a legal right to use the bike lane. Hint: they don’t.

Good question. The recently revived Gothamist asks why ebikes are okay for New York’s bikeshare system, but not for the city’s delivery riders.

Virginia bicyclists fear plans to expand Arlington National Cemetery could make the area more dangerous for people on bikes, unless it also includes a bi-directional bike lane.

Florida added a new segment of the 250-mile Coast to Coast Connector bike trail, which is 80% finished.

 

International

A design website says Quebec City’s competition for new bike rack designs resulted in seven over-designed racks at an eye-popping $23,500 each.

The former Raleigh headquarters has been listed as Britain’s 400,000th historic building; the company was the world’s largest bikemaker when the building opened in 1931.

Caught on video too: A well-organized burglary crew stole over $65,000 worth of bicycles from a family-owned English bike shop in less than three minutes.

Bicyclists are coming from all over the world to honor former British bikemaker Jack Taylor.

Traffic police in Chandigarh, India have formed a bicycle patrol to encourage bike riders to use the city’s 124 miles of mostly unused cycle tracks. If people don’t use your bikeways, it’s a pretty good indication that they are a) unsafe, b) in the wrong place, or c) all of the above.

The next time someone rants that bicyclists should be required to have a license and registration, tell ’em to move to Abu Dhabi.

What passes for a journalist in New Zealand says bikes should be banned because she doesn’t want to be inconvenienced. And bicyclists can go ride in a nonexistent velodrome, even though the rider who pissed her off was clearly riding for transportation.

A Singaporean soldier driving in his daughter to school is credited with saving the life of an 81-year old bike rider after he was seriously injured in crash with a motorcyclist.

 

Competitive Cycling

The winner of last weekend’s Paracycling World Cup relates how handcycling brought him back from the brink after losing a leg in a car crash.

Irish cyclist Nicolas Roche has struggled this year as he’s dealt with the emotional fallout of his brother’s leukemia relapse.

An Aussie cycling club has created a racing scholarship for young women riders who can’t get a sponsor.

A writer for Cycling Tips says don’t bother trying to take pictures, or you’ll miss all the excitement of bike racing.

 

Finally…

Forget scooters, we could be dodging rolling delivery robots. Be careful what you wish for — a new backpack would let you send messages to the drivers behind you.

And if a press release says your X-ray equipment is going to be used to check for motor doping at the Tour de France, try putting it out before the Tour de France.

Just a suggestion.

 

7 comments

  1. keith says:

    E-scooters, perhaps the scooter companies just need to send some cash to the various council districts like other developers do in order to build construction projects.

  2. Joe Linton says:

    FYI – so far, Ryu has been fairly vocally supportive of dockless bike-share and e-scooters.

  3. james says:

    Your rich get richer comment seems to be a reference to Portland,OR’s bicycle facilities. The article is about the other Portland, which is probably far more bicycle friendly than any city in socal aside from Santa Monica, but I’m not sure.

  4. David Drexler says:

    I use the Bird sometimes instead of driving my car so that is at least one car off the road. I suspect that others do the same.

    Bird is not cheap to use, approximately 5.00 for each 30 minutes but is fun and practical sometimes. I just rode it last night 4.5 miles to meet friends for dinner.

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