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Not so fast: Shared electric scooters, bicycles barred from Burbank

In this July 1, 2018 photo people ride Lime and Bird scooters along the strand in Santa Monica, Cali
People ride Lime and Bird scooters along the strand in Santa Monica last year. The Burbank City Council unanimously voted on Tuesday to continue a prohibition against the use of shared-use mobility devices from companies such as Bird and Lime.
(Richard Vogel / AP/CNG)

The Burbank City Council is putting the brakes on the ability of pay-to-ride electric scooter and bicycle companies to operate within city limits.

Members unanimously voted on Tuesday to continue a prohibition against the use of shared-use mobility devices from companies such as Bird and Lime.

The council also tabled discussions about a proposed ordinance that would regulate those devices, directing city staff to work with the Transportation Commission to fine-tune the proposed regulations and bring the topic back as a report during a future council meeting for further discussion.

Nick Burant, an administrative analyst for the city’s transportation division, said pay-to-ride devices are permitted just outside Burbank’s borders.

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Electric scooters and bicycles are already used in North Hollywood and Atwater Village, and device users from those communities have started leaving them in Burbank.

To try and get a handle on the situation, the proposed ordinance would set a cap of 1,000 devices within Burbank, with a limit of 200 devices per company.

The companies would also be required to prominently display a customer-service hotline and a serial number on each device. Scooters and bicycles would have to be inspected weekly.

Burant said the devices would have to be parked upright and would not be allowed to impede the flow of pedestrians on sidewalks or vehicles on streets.

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The proposed ordinance would also establish a fee schedule, where companies would be charged a one-time, $1,000 application fee in addition to a $200 fee per device.

Although city staff members thought they had a proposal that would provide residents and tourists with an alternative mode of transportation while not letting mobility companies flood Burbank with their devices, council members were primarily concerned about the safety of those who would be using the scooters and bicycles.

Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy said the companies should be in charge of organizing training programs to teach residents how to use their devices properly and where they would be allowed.

Additionally, she said companies should prove to the city they’re capable of educating members of the public — both young and old — before receiving a permit to operate in the city.

Councilman Tim Murphy said he had additional concerns about users riding on streets with 35-mph speed limits, which is what the proposed city ordinance would have allowed.

“People are going to die,” he said. “I don’t think it’s safe, and I think it would be irresponsible if we went with [the city staff’s recommendations].”

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