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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Renting a scooter is not like renting a car. Perhaps it should be

Bird scooters
Scooter riders in Venice on July 5, 2018.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: In his letter to the editor, the executive director of the Micromobility Coalition tries to ward off regulations on electric scooter operators by comparing the renting of these scooters to car rentals.

This comparison is false. To rent an electric scooter, all that is needed is an app and credit card. To rent a car a valid driver’s license is required, along with the completion of a lengthy form of one’s personal information, and a credit card. This information-heavy process of renting a car allows authorities to track down the driver if one breaks the law.

The minimal requirements to rent an electric scooter, touted as one of its benefits, makes it difficult to track down a rider who breaks the law.

Matthew Hetz, Los Angeles

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To the editor: The writer wonders if people who want electric scooter companies to be fined for the misuse of their products would suggest that rental car companies be held responsible for their illegally parked vehicles.

If Hertz or Avis rolled out their services by encroaching on public space and disrespecting the community and ignoring safety concerns; if they left cars randomly and illegally parked anywhere near the frequency that scooter riders do; if the number and placement of illegally parked rental cars were such that they could burden or harm an elderly, a disabled or a blind person; and if Hertz or Avis did not supply authorities with the identity of a violating operator so they could be held responsible, then yes, Hertz or Avis should be fined or punished.

These foreseeable problems are of the scooter companies’ own making and are theirs to solve. If penalties do not motivate them, then a complete ban should be considered.

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Chris Fay, Venice


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