With the popularity of motorized scooters such as Bird and Lime on the rise, there are a number of new legal issues for cities and communities to address. Recently, the Beverly Hills City Council voted 4-1 to ban the use of motorized scooters in the City limits for six months because of a number of public policy reasons.
If you are not familiar with Bird and Lime, which is hard especially living in Southern California, they are motorized scooters you can rent by the minute to get around town. When you download the app you are prompted to upload a picture of your driver’s license and you must agree to their terms. A few of the terms are: riding with a helmet, parking the scooters in a place that does not obstruct sidewalks, and obeying traffic signs/laws. Bird and Lime have grown quite rapidly in the Los Angeles area, and you can see a number of people using the scooters daily.
Issues Addressed by The Beverly Hills City Council
In its official statement, The Beverly Hills City Council addressed a few concerns regarding the scooters. First, no representative from either company reached out to Beverly Hills officials to see how the City and the companies can work together to institute the use of the scooters. Two, there has been an increase of the scooters being left in the middle of public right of ways. Thus, obstructing the sidewalks and other public avenues. Third, there has been an increase of citations for riders not wearing helmets, and an increase in accidents resulting in injury with riders and other motorized vehicles.
Why Beverly Hills is Taking This Stance and What Can be Done?
If you live in the Los Angeles area, then you know Beverly Hills institutes a number of city ordinances which distinguishes itself from its surrounding cities, and for good reason. Beverly Hills is the pillar of classiness. This is the same city that does not allow businesses to put signs out front without prior approval, banned vaping and smoking within aa certain number of feet of an entry to a building, and does not allow cannabis businesses within city limits. Therefore, it is no surprise the city does not want scooters in the middle of its sidewalks and people riding on the sidewalks in its business districts.
What can be done? Well, in its statement the city has welcomed discussions with representatives from Bird and Lime to see how the separate entities can work together. One of my thoughts is to have a centralized docking/parking area for all Bird and Lime scooters. Therefore, they are not scattered throughout the city, blocking walkways, or obstructing traffic. Another idea is to update the app to instruct riders where they can and cannot operate the scooters in business districts. A third idea, would be to limit the time the scooters can be used in the City. Depending on when the time is to use the scooters, it may cut down on obstructing traffic, injuries, and citations. Will these ideas solve all the concerns? No, there are always people that will break the rules, but the ideas may be a good start to get conversation going.
Beverly Hills has temporarily, at least for the next 6 months, banned the use of motorized scooters because of a number of public policy concerns. I believe that if the City and the companies offering the scooters collaborate and come to a deal, the City will gladly allow the use of scooters as it will only increase tourism.
All information provided in this article is for educational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice. Some of the information may be opinions. Each situation is dependent on the specific facts and must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. If you’d like to discuss the specifics of your situation, please call our office at (213) 784-3640.