Morning Links: Koretz proposes ban on e-scooters in Los Angeles, and keeping drivers on the road until it’s too late

In a move that probably shouldn’t have surprised anyone, LA’s self-proclaimed environmentalist councilmember has called for a temporary ban on dockless e-scooters.

Yes, Paul Koretz, the councilmember who singlehandedly blocked desperately needed bike lanes on Westwood Blvd — as well as on other major corridors throughout the Westside — has taken action to force people of their e-scooters and back into their cars, rather than allowing a viable first mile/last mile solution to take root.

This is the same councilman who has called for a Climate Emergency Mobilization Department. Yet can’t seem to see the logical disconnect in fighting alternative forms of transportation while paying lip service to climate change.

Then again, he doesn’t seem to see any problem with blocking increased density, either.

Evidently, he’s all for emergency action to address climate change, as long as it’s in someone else’s district.

Never mind that, as someone else pointed out, blocking bike lanes is just climate change denial in action.

Then there’s this disconnect, from the report by KFI radio.

“When we had a hearing in our Transportation Committee, at the time I had seen about three of them and I thought it wasn’t a big deal,” Koretz said. “I’ve probably seen a thousand since just on Beverly Boulevard where I live, and 100 percent have no helmet usage. … I’ve seen probably 20 go by with double on the scooter, which is very dangerous. On the commercial streets, everyone is illegally on the sidewalk.”

Which was followed by,

As for the public’s reaction, Koretz said he believed most residents want the scooters off the streets. He said his office has receive hundreds of complaints about them in recent weeks.

Yes, that is the scientific way to gauge public opinion, especially since people who support the scooters aren’t likely to call to say so without some compelling reason.

Like a stupid proposal to ban them, for instance.

And how is it that “hundreds of complaints” somehow outweighs thousands of users — by his own observation?

As for Koretz’ “better safe than sorry” concerns, there’s this from the Hollywood Reporter’s overview of the response, legal and otherwise, to e-scooters in the LA area.

Scooters have shown to pose safety hazards while operational and parked. According to injury attorney Catherine Lerer of L.A.’s McGee Lerer & Associates, who has written extensively about electric scooters, the top two seen in her office are people hurt when a scooter malfunctions — when a brake line is cut by disgruntled L.A. residents, for instance, or the scooter’s main post collapses — and pedestrians tripping over the scooters. “I’ve gotten calls from elderly people exiting businesses…people leave them right outside the front door,” Lerer notes.

Doesn’t exactly sound like a disaster in the making. Especially when one of the leading causes of injuries is sabotage by scooter-hating NIMBY terrorists.

The proposal was seconded by San Fernando Valley Councilmember Mitch Englander, who has also proposed a ban on dockless bikeshare until the city can work out a permitting process.

This follows the misguided bans on e-scooters in West Hollywood and Beverly Hills; the latter banning even riding bikeshare bikes or e-scooters through the city, which most likely violates state law.

Of course, this kind of hysteria about a new form of transportation is nothing new.

And something tells me Koretz would have been one of the first to call for a ban on bicycles had he lived in the 1890s. Although he probably would have been fine with the Model T chasing everyone else off the roads.

Of course, Los Angeles could take a more rational approach, like working with Lime and Bird to address any issues while they work the bugs out, as Culver City and Long Beach are doing.

But that would make too much sense.

Especially for an environmentalist who seems determined to keep Angelenos in their smog and greenhouse gas-belching cars.

………

As long as we’re talking about e-scooters and dockless bikeshare, let’s look at a few more stories on the subject.

Curbed offers everything you need to know about renting e-scooters and dockless bikeshare in Los Angeles. While you still can, that is.

When a Portland-area website went fishing for complaints about e-scooters, what they got were complaints about cars.

And a St. Louis website gives Lime scooters a test ride, and comes back with 13 things they learned. Including that they’re fun as, well, you get the idea.

………

This is who we share the roads with.

Life is cheap in British Columbia, where a driver gets just 45 days behind bars for killing a van driver while speeding, tailgating and driving recklessly — despite receiving 40 tickets over the last 20 years.

And a Tuskegee University football player will never play the game again, after his leg was severed when a friend’s car he was helping to jump was hit by a driver with a “criminal history dating to 1989 (that) ‘shows a pattern of driving offenses and felony arrests.'”

Just two more examples of authorities keeping dangerous drivers on the road until it’s too late.

………

More on the American couple killed in a terrorist attack in Tajikistan on Sunday, who had quit their jobs to bike around the world.

The couple from Washington, DC had written about their trip on a blog that sadly will never be finished.

And authorities blamed the attack on members of the blacklisted Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan.

………

Local

As we noted last week, fresh green bike lanes are finally going down on Santa Monica Blvd in the former Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills, which had fought the lanes for nearly a decade before surprisingly embracing them last year.

Today Santa Clarita sheriff’s deputies will step up enforcement of traffic violations that put bicyclists and pedestrians at risk, regardless of who commits them. So ride to the letter of the law until you leave their jurisdiction.

 

State

A Cambrian man accidentally became the first bike rider to travel Highway 1 in Big Sur after it reopened last month.

San Francisco approves plans for a curb-protected bike lane the promises to be the safest in the city.

Sad news from Del Norte County, where the CHP is looking for a hit-and-run driver who killed a woman as she rode her bike; the victim wasn’t carrying ID and still hasn’t been identified. One more reminder to always carry some form of identification when you ride; I never leave home without my RoadID, which doubles as a medic alert bracelet.

 

National

A writer for Forbes says cities must take advantage of the opportunities presented by bikeshare.

Bloomberg says Uber and Lyft may not be the solution to traffic congestion, but they’re probably not the cause, either.

Bicycling profiles BMX star Nigel Sylvester, saying the “rebellious superstar is breaking all the rules,” and doesn’t need your permission, thank you.

A writer for Fox News blames “big-spending liberals” for pushing Seattle bike lane and streetcar projects that have been plagued with cost overruns.

A Washington writer gets a detailed education in why many bicyclists prefer to ride on the highway, when there’s a perfectly good bike path nearby. Which should be required reading for planners before they’re allowed to design any offroad path.

Evidently, Los Angeles isn’t the only city where councilmembers have the power to block bike lanes. A Chicago bike rider was killed when he was doored on a street that was supposed to have a protected bike lane, which was halted by the local alderman.

After Ofo pulled out of White Plains NY, they donated over 100 bike for use by low income families.

An Albany NY TV station raises concerns about the structural integrity of an old railroad bridge that now used by over “200,000 bike riders, joggers and dog walkers” every year.

Charlotte NC is planning its first two-way, protected cycle track.

 

International

Curbed looks at 14 gorgeous carfree cities around the world. Anyone one of which I’m just about ready to move to. Although bike riding on the Venice canals might be a bit of a challenge.

No surprise here, as a study shows the noxious fumes in London’s air disappeared during the annual carfree Ride London event.

A British lawyer who calls himself Mr. Loophole suggests revising the country’s traffic laws, including requiring all bike riders to pass a proficiency test, and have their bicycles inspected annually for safety violations (aka an MoT, or Ministry of Transport exam).

Talk about lessons not learned. Bike Biz reprints a speech in the British parliament that calls for a revival of bicycling in the national interest — which was given sixty years ago. And clearly not acted on.

Egyptians are being encouraged to leave their cars behind in an effort to spread bicycle culture throughout the country.

Shimano has apparently overcome the losses from the factory fire in Japan earlier this year, with sales up 6.8%.

 

Competitive Cycling

Forbes calls bicycle racing the best sport to combine spectating and active participation.

A French newspaper calls for a budget cap for pro cycling teams following Team Sky’s dominating performance in the Tour de France; the president of cycling’s governing body calls for limiting teams to a maximum of six riders instead.

After successful surgery to repair a fractured vertebrae suffered during the Tour, Vincenzo Nibali hopes to return in time for the Vuelta a España later this month.

VeloNews talks with a sports psychologist about whether the abuse Team Sky riders suffered from fans during the Tour had any effect. Apparently not, since they led most of the way and placed two riders on the podium; cutting back on salbutamol probably had a bigger effect on Chris Froome.

Speaking of VeloNews, the magazine also talks with the head of the Dimension Data team about his efforts to build an African team; while several African riders have competed on the WorldTour with the team, no black African has yet won a stage at the highest levels.

And completing our VeloNews trilogy, the magazine offers a beautiful photo essay of the Tour de France from the Pyrenees to Paris.

A 60-year old Australian woman won the masters mountain bike world championships just one day after suffering a major crash.

 

Finally…

Evidently, the more bikes change, the more they look the same. Doing the Tour de France without a bicycle.

And sometimes, doing the right thing gets rewarded.

6 comments

  1. keith says:

    So far I’ve only seen e-scooter riders just enjoying themselves and having fun in my Hollywood neighborhood. Including groups of riders. Personally I think it’s a very clever way to do errands and get around without having to drive. Imagine scootering all the way and then just leaving it right outside. Ah the horrors, oh wait that’s what we do with our cars – park them wherever we can. But its not long before someone else rents the scooter or it gets picked up for a charge & service. And it’s created new jobs for those servicing them.

    • Harv says:

      Its just growing pains. All these problems will be sorted out. Parking for cars has been very extensively instituted everywhere. Large lots, big structures, white lines, signage, etc. All that is needed for scooters would be a small designated area for them.
      .
      And the good news is that the scooter business is big and growing fast. Big business means big money and big money is what it takes to get amenities and infrastructure built. I don’t mind sharing a dedicated path with a 15 mph scooter, that’s pretty close to my pedal-bike cruising speed anyway.
      .
      I remain optimistic.
      .

  2. alan says:

    quoting someone else. “Amazing how we normalize the deadliest things around us for the sake of convenience, but every one not contributing to that danger is an annoying menace.”

  3. Michael H. says:

    Seems fairly obvious there will be light regulation of these vehicles: helmets required; no riding on sidewalks or beach paths, and drop zones where the scooters must be parked and picked up. Violations incur fines to the user and perhaps to the company. We can fix this. No big deal.

    • keith says:

      Noticed Long Beach is already on board with nicely designed & marked drop zones. I could see those working in busy shopping/walking zone areas like trendy Belmont Shores or in places along Hollywood Blvd. or Larchmont Blvd.

      Not sure how to solve the helmet issue unless there’s 1 tied somehow to each e-scooter.

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