A lawsuit has been filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court claiming that various e-scooter firms have acted in "gross negligence," even "aiding and abetting assault." This lawsuit follows the announcement of Santa Monica's pilot program for e-scooters and bikes as well as recent legislation regulating e-scooters in various Los Angeles neighborhoods. The class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of pedestrians involved in various scooter accidents throughout Los Angeles and Santa Monica. The plaintiffs claim that the existing e-scooter companies have exercised, "wanton disregard for the safety of others."
While Los Angeles city council has established a set of regulations for shared electric scooter and the city of Santa Monica has initiated its trial period, Loyola Marymount University has tried to form its own regulations. Prior to the first meeting of its committee dedicated to determining the safe use of shared electric scooters, the University has temporarily banned shared scooters campus wide. The committee meeting was first scheduled for October 5th, yet no change in policy has been announced. Hampton Cantrell, Chief of the Department of Public Safety at Loyola Marymount explained that, "Safety is our top priority. We want to make sure campus safety can be maintained before issuing a final policy."
Riding drunk on an electric scooter is not only against the law, it is also extremely dangerous for everyone involved. Age 28, Nicholas Kauffroath was convicted of DUI for a blood alcohol level over three times the legal limit while riding an electric scooter. Kauffroath was apprehended by LAPD after knocking down a 64 year old pedestrian in West Los Angeles. Fortunately, the victim only suffered an abrasion on the knee; however, the injuries could have been significantly worse for both parties.
Following Lime's announcement of facilitating 11 million rides to its shared scooter userbase, a Washington D.C. man was killed while riding a Lime electric scooter in Dupont Circle. He was struck by an SUV and had to be extricated from the undercarriage of the vehicle following the accident. After sustaining life threatening and critical injuries, the victim passed away. Following the incident, DC Fire and EMS posted a short video of the extraction in progress.
Governor Jerry Brown recently signed a new law that removed the requirement for adults to wear a helmet when operating an electric scooter under 35 miles per hour. While riding electric scooters on sidewalks is still prohibited, many California residents are concerned this deregulation may increase the growing number of electric scooter related injuries in California emergency rooms. Others believe the regulation was unnecessary in the first place as adults can already legally ride a bicycle without a helmet. Regardless of how you may see the regulation, it will always be safest to wear a properly fitted helmet when operating a scooter or bicycle.
Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously in a 13-0 vote to set new regulations for dockless scooter companies. However, will these rules be enough to regain control over city sidewalks? To start, each company will be limited to 3,000 scooters spread out across L.A. city, except two districts with ongoing pilot programs where fleet numbers are not restricted. This will be a massive decrease in scooters for Bird as some estimate they operate over 15,000 scooters in Los Angeles alone. Companies operating in Los Angeles will be able to increase their fleet size over time by complying with regulations and operating in low income areas. Companies will be mandated to operate a 24 hour hotline for reporting unsafe or illegal behavior with their scooter. Additionally, scooters' max speed will be capped at 15 miles per hour.
After shutting down operations in protest of an unfavorable city council decision, Bird and Lime were selected for the exclusive pilot program in Santa Monica. Jump, Lyft, Lime and Bird will now be allowed to operate a limited number of scooters during the pilot program. Lime and Bird will operate 750 scooter each while Uber and Jump will operate 250 scooters. The number of scooters each company can operate can increase over time as the scooters prove to be handled responsibly. Whether or not these numbers will be too low to prove effective or too high to make a difference in public safety remains to be seen.
While electric scooters have been around for a while, the new shareable scooters have caused a craze in Los Angeles and other major cities across the United States. Scooter companies Bird and Lime have flooded the streets and sidewalks with electric scooters rentable through a smartphone app. Many are excited about the increased options for public transportation while others are cautious about zipping along on city streets. The fact of the matter is that you should always be cautious and exercise good judgement when riding electric scooters as the injuries sustained can be life-altering.
The battle of the sidewalk has taken a turn in favor of removing electric scooters from public access. The Beverly Hills city council voted 4 to 1 in favor of banning electric scooters on any Beverly Hills public right-of-way or public property. The ban was issued in retaliation to the tactics of electric scooter share companies such as Lime and Bird. For those who may not be aware, the electric scooters laying on sidewalks are typically the property of Bird or Lime and can be rented for a fee using a smartphone app. Concern regarding public safety and the potential for electric scooter fatal accidents led to the citywide ban. Beverly Hills anticipates they will revisit the issue in 6 months with a plan of action for handling the increased use of electric scooters.
This year, BMW has entered the mid-sized scooter market. This market sells about 35,000 to 40,000 units per year, so this is a relatively stable market to enter and stay within.