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Santa Monica Police to Crack Down on Electric Scooters on Beach Bike Path
By Jorge Casuso
July 26, 2018 -- Santa Monica police this week will begin cracking down on electric scooters on the beach bike path by enforcing a law banning electric vehicles there.
Despite a growing public call to ban scooters on the busy path, riders had been given a pass by police who worried the municipal law was unclear.
"We've been told that we are going with the municipal code that bans all electric vehicles" from the beach bike path, said Lt. Saul Rodriguez, the Police Department spokesman.
The announcement came as the department staged a high-profile crackdown of electric scooter riders Downtown on Wednesday that is part of an ongoing education and enforcement campaign.
During the operation -- which took place from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. -- police stopped 105 riders and issued 59 citations, Rodriguez said.
Forty-two of those citations were for riding without a helmet and six for riding on sidewalks in violation of the California Vehicle Code.
A few citations also were given for driving without a license and running a red light.
The rules riders must agree to before renting a scooter outline the traffic laws, including the need to wear helmets, Rodriguez said.
"I think people are going through it quickly and getting on the scooter," he said.
During a three-day operation on the bike path this past weekend, some 900 scooter riders were stopped, although police issued no citations.
Police acknowledge educating scooter riders will be challenging, since a large percentage of those stopped this weekend were not from the area.
"There are tourists who may be unaware what the rules are," Rodriguez said. "We want to continue to send the message out not only to the community."
Rodriguez said the companies that rent the scooters "have some responsibility for informing riders" and could reach out-of-town visitors through the local hotels.
The call to ban scooters on the bike path gained traction last week when a mother whose seven-year-old son lost several teeth in a collision with a scooter posted an online petition.
In its first week, the petition on Change.org garnered more than 1,300 signatures ("Santa Monica Mother Launches Petition Drive After Son Injured by Motorized Scooter," July 18 2018).
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