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Opinion

The biggest scooter nuisance? Scooter riders

Bird scooter
A Bird scooter sits tipped over on its side in a Venice Beach alley.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: In his piece warning that scooter companies are allowing big tech businesses to colonize the public space, John Tinnell overlooked a rather large portion of the scooter equation: scofflaws.

Even though the current pilot programs in various cities have fewer riders than the future will bring, the number of those who break the rules is already considerable. Here are some examples that one can regularly find today: riders driving faster than is safe; reckless riding (going against traffic, riding in circles in the middle of intersections, weaving in and across the middle of streets, and worse); ignoring stop signs; riders obviously under 18 years old; double riders (and especially parents with very young children); and riding on sidewalks.

It also very rare to see any riders wearing helmets. Since insurance on any party’s behalf is in such a state of flux right now, litigation seems like it will be an ever increasingly unhappy way of life.

When the large-scale scooter ridership truly takes hold in our cities, the rampant disregard for laws and safety will create even more untenable living conditions.

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Larry Wright, Long Beach

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To the editor: The juxtaposition of the article on the federal lawsuit filed to forbid L.A. from removing the belongings of homeless people from our sidewalks and the op-ed piece on scooter companies taking over our sidewalks for their personal gain was certainly ironic.

Advocacy groups believe the city should not be seizing and discarding homeless people’s belongings from public property. But if homeless people are allowed to live on the sidewalk, there is no reason why that public property cannot be equally occupied by another group, scooter companies, which also ostensibly provide a public benefit (last-mile transport).

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In fact, there is well established law that if a public entity allows one group to utilize its facilities, such as by renting out a civic auditorium, it cannot discriminate against other groups.

The occupation of areas that were purchased, developed and maintained by taxpayers, especially those intended for use by pedestrians, is equally disturbing, whether undertaken by tents, couches, chairs and mattresses, or by scooters.

Stephanie Scher, Los Angeles

The writer has served as the city attorney for several Los Angeles County cities over the last 30 years.


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