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Should Bird scooter riders be required to carry insurance and have a license?

Should Bird scooter riders be required to carry insurance and have a license?
Bird scooter riders cross a street in Venice. (Richard Vogel / AP)

To the editor: I walk the sidewalks in Culver City at least three times a week, and I often encounter Bird scooters. It is frightening to have a motorized scooter coming at you, with the ability of the operator to avoid a collision always in question. Most riders I’ve seen are not wearing helmets and look like they are under 18 years old. (“Cities crack down on electric scooter scofflaws, while trying to untangle the chaos of a new technology,” July 27)

I suggest that Bird has plenty of lawsuits in its future.

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I see no evidence of self-policing by Bird or its users. Distributing 40,000 helmets to riders doesn’t cut it. The company should reimburse police departments that must now enforce laws related to the misuse of the scooters, and it should pay back fire departments for transporting injured riders and bystanders to hospitals.

Perhaps we might look at the automobile industry for a solution. In California, a driver’s license and insurance are required to operate a vehicle, and cars are built to provide as much safety as possible to passengers and pedestrians. Can Bird make this claim about its product?

Peter Stern, Culver City

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To the editor: Thank you for covering the emerging use of motorized scooters in Southern California. The growth of this mode of transportation is an important development that merits deeper coverage.

However, the current coverage is indicative of the “cars only” mentality in the region. While there will surely be growing pains, we should be designing our streets so all of us can use them safely. That will be the only way to achieve our goals on climate change and Vision Zero (that is, no deaths on our roads).

I have a suggestion to the problem of scooters taking up too much space on the sidewalks: Build dedicated slow-speed lanes for bikes and scooters on every street, and include parking for bikes and scooters on every block.

Nick Hooper, Los Angeles

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