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The false choice between letting Bird scooters proliferate unchecked and ensuring sidewalk safety

The false choice between letting Bird scooters proliferate unchecked and ensuring sidewalk safety
A Bird scooter parked at Colorado Boulevard and 5th Street in Santa Monica. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: In his Op-Ed article defending the unchecked and seemingly unregulated proliferation of Bird electric scooters in West L.A., Conor Friedersdorf asserts, "Figuring out where exactly Birds fit next to cars, bikes and people, if they fit at all, is bound to involve trial and error, as well as an unknown number of injuries to riders and bystanders."

I wonder whether Friedersdorf would take quite such a callous attitude if his child was among the unknown number of injured bystanders.

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Friedersdorf presents a false choice when he suggests that breaking the city's traffic gridlock inevitably requires some risk to life and limb. It is possible to be in favor of the introduction of new modes of transport and sensible regulation at the outset that promotes public safety.

After all, the cyclists and pedestrians being asked to bear that risk are already embracing alternate forms of transportation. The city should reward their willingness to eschew L.A.'s car culture by ensuring our sidewalks and bike paths remain safe for all.

Heather Szerlag, Venice

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To the editor: I live in the Ocean Park area of Santa Monica, where Bird scooters are prevalent and present danger. My experience with many of the scooter operators is that they rarely stop at a sign, blast through red lights, never wear helmets, don't stop at crosswalks where appropriate, and often ride side-by-side.

If they are going to operate safely on our streets, I believe the rules of the road should apply equally.

Mary Ann LaVasseur, Santa Monica

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