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The double whammy of Bird scooters: They're a blight, and they're dangerous to pedestrians

The double whammy of Bird scooters: They're a blight, and they're dangerous to pedestrians
A man is seen using a motorized Bird scooter in Venice. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: The article on the newly ubiquitous electric scooters in coastal California cities focuses on the safety of riders more than that of other road and sidewalk users.

Here in Santa Monica, walking is a daily struggle. Bikes on sidewalks — illegal here — have always been a problem. Now, pedestrians must contend with a nasty gauntlet of tourists and day-trippers carelessly cruising down our sidewalks at street speeds on electric scooters.

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And then there’s the nuisance of the Bird scooters littering our neighborhoods. I find one abandoned in front of my home at least once a week. The city may be empowered to remove the scooters, but it won’t. Recently I called the police because I could hear a scooter left on its side in front of my house beeping for an hour. The police said they would do nothing about it.

I dragged the noisy scooter to the corner of my block, mustering all my strength to avoid chucking it into a nearby dumpster — where it belongs.

Bruce R. Feldman, Santa Monica

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To the editor: The arrogance of electric scooter rental companies is understandable. In city after city, they have proved that they hold the economic high card by giving their customers what they want (cheap, fast, enjoyable rides).

Plus, scooters are an alternative to the clogged car traffic that exists in every place where they have set up shop.

Until city governments bite the bullet and take a few political chances by passing and enforcing rules concerning helmets and riding on sidewalks, this situation will continue to get worse.

Joan Walston, Santa Monica

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To the editor: If Bird really cared about safety, the company would find a way to have a helmet on every scooter. If it cared about the public nuisance it creates, it would specify docking stations and charge a penalty for scooters left elsewhere.

It would be easy enough to put a helmet mount on the steering column and integrate it into the locking system. But, you know, the scooter might not be quite as cute. This is all about the cost and benefit to investors.

Bird scooters are annoying because they seem to be about flipping the bird to everyone else. On the other hand, they’re providing communities with local transportation and a first-mile, last-mile solution.

Does that mean a company that acts like a teenager should be allowed to play by its own rules?

David Ewing, Venice

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