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Traffic Crackdown to Include E-Scooter Riders

Bob Kronovetrealty
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Santa Monica Convention and Visitors

By Lookout Staff

May 10, 2019 -- In addition to citing bicyclists, drivers and pedestrians who violate traffic laws, Santa Monica police on Friday will be pulling over e-scooter riders for the first time.

The safety enforcement operation on Friday will include the ubiquitous e-scooters zipping through Santa Monica, especially Downtown, police announced this week.

"E scooter riders will be stopped for riding on the sidewalk, not complying with stop signs and signals, or riding on the wrong side of the road and any other violation of traffic laws," said Lt. Candice Cobarrubias, the Police Department spokesperson.

Last July, police focused exclusively on e-scooter riders during a high-profile traffic operation Downtown ("Santa Monica Police to Crack Down on Electric Scooters on Beach Bike Path," July 26, 2018 ).

During the crackdown, which lasted two and a half hours, police stopped 105 riders and issued 59 citations.

Of those citations, 42 were for riding without a helmet and six for riding on sidewalks in violation of the California Vehicle Code.

According to a pioneering report by UCLA published in January, some 40 percent of e-scooter riders admitted to UCLA Medical Center emergency rooms in Santa Monica and Westwood suffered head injuries and nearly a third broke a bone ("E-Scooter Injuries 'Common,' Sometimes 'Severe,' UCLA Study Finds," January 25, 2019).

Police on Friday also will be on the lookout for behavior by cyclists, drivers and pedestrians that puts "roadway users at risk."

"These violations include drivers speeding, making illegal turns, failing to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, failing to stop for signs and signals or any other dangerous violation," police said.

It also includes pedestrians who "cross the street illegally or fail to yield to drivers who have the right of way," officials said.

In addition, officers will look for bicyclists who violate the same traffic laws that apply to drivers. They will focus on those riding on the wrong side of the road.

Bicyclists should always wear a helmet, which are required by law for those under 18.

The program is paid for with a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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