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Santa Monica Launches Pilot Program for Electric Scooters, Bicycles


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By Jorge Casuso

June 13, 2018 -- In an effort to curb the runaway popularity of electric scooters and bicycles, the City Council on Tuesday approved a 16-month pilot program that caps the number of such vehicles and sets standards for their use on Santa Monica's busy streets.

The program allows at least two operators for scooters and two for bikes, require operators to provide real time data on the vehicles' use, provide more helmets and educate users to enhance safety.

It also requires operators to develop systems that address complaints about parking the vehicles -- which often block sidewalks -- and include zones and incentives for pick ups and drop offs.

“There’s no denying the popularity and ease of shared mobility devices that can help Santa Monica reach its goal of being a multi-modal city,” said Mayor Ted Winterer.

“Yet we must balance that with a serious need to hold companies accountable to ensure responsible behavior on our streets and sidewalks."

The pilot program will pave the way for "a long-term program that establishes a safe, equitable and sustainable mobility option in Santa Monica,” Winterer said.

On Tuesday, the Council approved positions for a program coordinator and an enforcement liaison on limited contracts until the permanent program is established.

"These positions will be created by retooling existing staffing structures, and will not add new positions to the City’s workforce," staff said.

The program is part of a concerted effort to increase the number of options for getting around the popular beach city without a car, while ensuring safety at a time when pedestrian fatalities have reached record levels.

It also sets a “legal and enforecable” framework for service providers, while building a good working relationship with the City, staff said.

"A key component of this program’s success is the partnership with operators, ensuring a focus on rider safety and solutions that preserve our public spaces for everyone’s enjoyment,” said Anuj Gupta, Deputy City Manager and Director of Policy.

“This collaborative approach will position us to develop policies that expand transportation options while respecting our community's needs and mobility demands.”


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