In the last two years, electric for-hire scooters have sprung up in Los Angeles communities from the Westside to Downtown. Now, they have finally been making their way to the Valley where they can provide users with an affordable, convenient, and environmentally-friendly mode of transportation. Scooters are also the perfect vehicle to connect public transit riders with the first and last miles of their journeys. There has never been an easier or more fun way for travelers to get around the Valley.
There are several dockless scooter providers currently operating in Los Angeles which you might already be familiar with including Bird, Lime, Lyft, Jump, and Spin. Simply download one or more of their free apps to create an account and begin riding. All you need is a valid driver’s license and a form of payment such as credit/debit card to use the apps. The price charged to ride a scooter differs by the company, but it typically costs around $1 to unlock the device followed by a per-minute charge. Once you have registered with a scooter company, use the in-app map or scootermap to locate any nearby devices that are charged and ready for riding.
Learning the rules of the road for electric scooters will help you ride more safely and considerately, while improving the accessibility of your community.
Rules of the Road
Just like when riding a bike or driving a car, users of electric scooters must follow the rules of the road at all times. This means removing any distractions while riding, paying attention to your surroundings, and signaling your intentions to other travelers. Scooters should be ridden in bike lanes where they are available, and on the far right side of regular traffic lanes where bike lanes are unavailable. Follow these simple checklists when you unlock a scooter to ensure you are ready to safely ride:
- Make sure you have your California driver’s license and are over 18 years of age
- Check the brakes, wheels, and handlebars of the scooter (any issues should be reported to the company which provides the damaged scooter)
- Safely put your phone away before taking off
- Helmets are not required by law, but are strongly encouraged for all riders
- Only one person per vehicle
- Do not use headphones, earbuds, or your phone while riding
- Do not exceed 15 miles per hour
- Do not ride on the sidewalk. Under California state law, the fine for sidewalk riding is $197 and any occurrences should be reported to local police
- Ride on normal surface streets as close to the curb as traffic will allow. Where available, ride your scooter in designated bike lanes
Most apps will prompt riders with a parking verification step at the end of a ride to ensure that scooters are left in an appropriate location, out of rights-of-way.
To be sure you are properly parking your vehicle, remember to not park in the following ways:
- In front of driveways, crosswalks, and transit stops
- Near ADA access ramps
- Near utilities (such as fire hydrants)
- Along color curbs (such as Accessible Parking Zones-blue and Loading Zones-yellow)
- On landscaped areas or grass
- On sidewalks less than 3 feet wide
If you see a scooter that is parked improperly, you should submit a service request to the City’s 311 portal and select “Transportation” as the section. Also, tickets will be issued by LAPD to anyone who may be riding on the sidewalk. So, if you see anyone riding on the sidewalk, you may call your nearest LAPD traffic division to report it:
LAPD West Traffic Division:
(213) 473-0222 or http://lapdonline.org/west_traffic
LAPD Valley Traffic Division:
(818) 644-8000 or http://lapdonline.org/valley_traffic
LAPD Central Traffic Division:
(213) 833-3746 or http://lapdonline.org/central_traffic
LAPD South Traffic Division:
(323) 421-2577 or http://lapdonline.org/south_traffic