BEVERLY HILLS (CNS) - A six-month ban on motorized scooters went into force in Beverly Hills today following a vote by the City Council.
The ban received a 4-1 vote from the city council Tuesday night. It takes immediate effect, the city said on its website.
“The ordinance prohibits the devices from being placed in any public right-of-way or on public property, operated in any public-right-of-way or on public property, or offered for use anywhere in the City,” a city statement reported. “The majority of the Council cited concern for public safety and a lack of any advanced planning and outreach by the motorized scooter companies as the primary reasons for the new ordinance.
“Beverly Hills Police will enforce a zero-tolerance policy on the use of motorized scooters throughout the City. This will include impounding the devices and issuing citations related to vehicle code violations resulting in fines.”
But the city indicated the ordinance may be temporary.
“The majority of the Council expressed an interest in meeting with representatives from the motorized scooter companies to establish clear guidelines for possible future use of the devices within the City,” according to the statement.
It said the use of motorized scooters in Beverly Hills has dramatically increased in recent weeks, with the police department issuing warnings and citations for riders not wearing helmets, driving on sidewalks in a business district or not possessing a valid driver's license. Police have responded to several collisions involving motorized scooters and causing injuries. Officers have also removed scooters from sidewalks and streets when they obstructed normal traffic and created a hazard, it said.
The one holdout on the council was Vice Mayor John Mirisch, who said he does not believe a ban would solve the problem. He believes that the ban will require more enforcement measures and cause more problems.
Representatives from Bird, Lime and Uscooters had urged the city to regulate their products without the ban, but the council decided to ban the scooters while they deliberate how the vehicles can be managed.
Beverly Hills is just the latest city to be grappling with scooters. Problems cited have included the dumping of scooters on public and private right of ways, conflicts with cars and pedestrians, liability issues, helmets, the California State Vehicle Code and the business model that brought the unregulated devices into the City in the first place.
“I am beyond offended by the manner in which this was rolled out,” Mayor Julian Gold said before the council meeting, according to the Beverly Hills Courier. “To intentionally impose on cities the risks in an effort to make a profit is unconscionable. No one has to grant forgiveness. The manner in which you rolled this out is a wanton disregard for the public safety and it is our public.
“You guys could care less. You wanted to move the needle. You moved it too far. This is a wanton disregard for public safety. Given my druthers, I would ban you for life or longer. I would stick your executives in jail and not the kids who ride the scooters.”
Without the bike path infrastructure available in Culver City and Santa Monica, Beverly Hills may not be ready yet for scooters, said Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli. “It is a public safety hazard until there is a better business plan.”
It is not clear how Beverly Hills will implement any bans, but Santa Monica rounded up all the Birds that were operating there on Friday and impounded them. Its ban will last six months while officials negotiate with up to four agencies to provide a limited number of scooters in the city under strict controls.
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