L.A. County Set to Regulate Scooters in Unincorporated Communities

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles County joined the ranks of municipalities wrangling with how to regulate electric scooters, voting today to create a pilot regulatory program. Supervisor Kathryn Barger recommended the pilot, saying when scooters showed up in the unincorporated areas of Altadena and East Pasadena in November, residents raised concerns about public safety and nuisance issues.

``We want a collaborative plan that allows operators to provide a viable transit option for our residents while minimizing the potential for public nuisances, safety issues and lawsuits ultimately paid by taxpayers,'' Barger said. 

Advocates say the scooters are an environmentally clean solution to gaps in available transit, while some residents complain of sidewalks crowded with equipment, riders who create dangerous conditions on sidewalks, and the risks of injuries. Barger's original motion called for companies who supply the scooters to halt operations everywhere other than Marina del Rey until regulations were adopted, a recommendation made by Chief Executive Officer Sachi Hamai. That condition was dropped in the final version of the motion. 

The Department of Beaches and Harbors has been working with vendors on a pilot in Marina del Rey. 

In a December report to the board, Hamai said county goals to support innovative industries, address climate change and support a clean, multi-modal transportation system would inform regulations. 

Electric scooters shared through a user app are so new to the market that no true best practices are available, with jurisdictional responses ranging from prohibition to proactive collaboration, Hamai's report stated. Several local cities are using pilot programs to test outcomes. 

The board directed the CEO to work with various departments and agencies to develop a pilot program in the next 45 days for dockless scooters as well as shared bikes on county roadways. 

The plan -- which would apply to unincorporated areas of the county -- is expected to include a consumer-oriented website with safety information.

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