Saturday, December 22, 2018

Scooter & Bike Shares And Other Transportation Around Venice And Santa Monica - Updated

Over the last couple of years when we visited LA, I've notice the scooter thing.  First it was my bewilderment at seeing scooters just sitting, seemingly abandoned, on the bike trail along the beach.

The bikes had stations like this one, where you could use your phone to rent a bike and you had to return it to another station.

But the electric scooters had gps and could be left anywhere and rented anywhere you found one.

This didn't go without controversy.  People complained about scooters menacing pedestrians or being abandoned where they block sidewalks.  There have been reports of vandalism against the abandoned scooters.

The picture shows two Jump scooters (Uber) and a Bird scooter.  I've seen Lyme and Lyft scooters as well.

When the bike trail along the beach goes from Venice (a neighborhood that is actually in Los Angeles) to Santa Monica (a separate city), there's the sign banning scooters.

I've seen some scooters left there at the border,

like this Bird and the others in the background just before this sign.

But I also see a lot of folks riding their electric scooters along the Santa Monica beach bike trail.

Two riders on this scooter.

An electric skateboard.

 An electric mini bike.

Selfie bikers

A speed biker overtakes someone just cruising along.

Non-motorized tricycles.

 Just for fun I'm adding in a couple of forms of transportation that don't actually take you anywhere - the rollercoaster on the Santa Monica pier,

and this guy who was swinging so high and for so long that I was wondering if he was chemically high as well.

And a non-motorized race to the top.   

Besides the beach, there are lots and lots of people riding around the streets of Venice and Santa Monica on these scooters and bikes.  I think it's a great idea whose time hasn't actually come yet.  That is - the streets, bike trails, and sidewalks aren't geared for all these different vehicles going at different speeds.  The idea that you can pick up an easy means of short transport - say two or three miles or less - and just leave it where you end up, is a great alternative to the car.  And a great connector from buses to your final destination.

People are working out how to do this without endangering pedestrians or blocking people's way.

Here are some Jump scooters that found a good spot to park, not far from my Mom's house.

I think this could be a big part of everyone's future.  We just need to redesign streets to accommodate these slower options.  I'm a bit concerned by the lack of helmets among riders.  I haven't seen anyone crash yet, but I've seen a few people looking scared as they come around a curve faster than they were ready for.  

And I'm not sure what the City of Santa Monica intends to do about motorized scooters on the beach bike trails. There sure doesn't seem to be any enforcement at the moment.   When rules are not enforced and then suddenly enforced or selectively enforced, they're a lot easier to challenge.  

I don't know what's happening in the rest of the LA area.  I suspect because of the beach, Venice and Santa Monica have more scooters, but I'm not sure.  I haven't noticed them much when we've been out of the area.  

[UPDATE Dec 22, 2018 7:50 pm - well, it seems the scooters are doing well in the Westwood area where we had a Persian dinner tonight.  

It turns out there's a company doing the same thing with electric cars.  My granddaughter and I passed this place this morning near the Santa Monica Saturday market. 

I looked up Ioniq and got this website for Waive cars.  It says you get the app, locate a car nearby, book it, and drive it for two hours FREE!  They say they make their money from advertising.  After two hours it costs $5.99 per hour.]  There were six or seven more in this lot.]


  1. don't people just walk any more?

  2. Thanks for that question. I have thought about that too. As someone whose heel caused me to give up running for biking, I am much more sympathetic to people who have walking issues. Since the heel has acted up since just after Thanksgiving and has limited my walking, I do see the scooters as a way to get around without aggravating my heel. Though I can and prefer to ride a pedal powered bike. And the first bike shares were all pedal power bikes. But now we have business promoting these new endeavors. On the beach bike trails, where most of the rides are for recreation rather than transportation, I see no reason for motorized vehicles. And apparently Santa Monica doesn't either, though they don't enforce it. And they only ban the scooters not other powered devices. For other areas, I see the scooters as a way to get around a little faster in a world where no one has time. Few people these days would undertake a two mile walk as a means of transportation, though to my wife's credit, she does her 10,000 steps a day pretty religiously.


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