Bird scooters on the sidewalk in Downtown Santa Monica. Photos by SMN.

After a woman riding an electric scooter was injured in a crash earlier this week, the city of Santa Monica issued safety tips for using the increasingly popular mode of transportation.

The woman, according to the Santa Monica Daily Press, was riding a Bird scooter, many of which have been seen throughout the streets of Santa Monica in recent weeks after the company launched its pay-by-the-minute rental service for electric scooters.

“Unfortunately, Bird Rides, Inc., the company behind the app-based electric motorized scooters for rent around town, does not have a business license to operate on the public rights-of-way, and currently operates in a manner that places riders and residents at risk,” wrote Deputy City Manager Anuj Gupta in an online statement Thursday. “Just this week, a rider of a motorized scooter not wearing a helmet suffered a serious injury after colliding with a car on one of our streets.”

In his statement, Gupta also noted, “If new mobility companies are prepared to operate safely and within the bounds of both state and local laws, the City is ready to work with them to bring their operations into full compliance with permitting and use of public space requirements.”

The statement goes on to note the regulations in the California Vehicle code that apply to motorized scooters:

  • You can only ride if you have a valid driver’s license or instruction permit.
  • Wearing a helmet is required for all ages.
  • You must ride by yourself, and not with any passengers.
  • You must ride on the road, never on the sidewalk.
  • You may not park on the sidewalk in the way of pedestrian traffic.
  • You must not ride at night unless the motorized scooter is equipped with proper lighting equipment, including a front light source which is visible from the front and sides, and reflectors.
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  • BN

    Yes, the scooters are a new transportation option, but that doesn’t mean Santa Monica has to allow the company’s scooters on our streets. While the app may remind users of the law, it has taken no steps (aside from giving out helmets) to encourage enforcement. And with all the scooters now using the bike path illegally they really need to step up and do something. These scooters zipping past walkers and bikes on the bike path are going to make it even more hazardous to walk along the beach.