L.A. to Have More Electric Scooters, Bikes Than Anywhere Else in U.S.: Officials

People ride Bird dockless electric scooters along Venice Beach on Aug. 13, 2018. (Credit: Mario Tama / Getty Images)

People ride Bird dockless electric scooters along Venice Beach on Aug. 13, 2018. (Credit: Mario Tama / Getty Images)

Los Angeles is set to have the nation’s largest fleet of electric scooters and bikes for rent as the city solidifies its system for permitting companies to operate the devices, officials said Friday.

About 26,500 scooters and 5,000 bikes from six different dockless operators will be available along city streets, the L.A. Department of Transportation said in a news release.

The agency began issuing conditional permits to various companies last November, but now it’s granted one-year permits to three of them: Lime, Spin and Bird.

Spin will have the largest footprint, with 10,500 scooters total. Bird will get 6,500 and Lime will have another 5,500, officials said.

The city has ordered each company to locate a portion of its fleet in areas it designates as disadvantaged communities.

Three other operators — Lyft, Wheels and Jump — are working to obtain a one-year permit but will continue operating under terms of the conditional permit that allows them up to 3,000 devices each until at least April 15.

More than 10 different companies could eventually be operating in the city, with permit requests for 500 scooters each from Bolt, CLEVR and Cloud, 500 e-bikes from HOPR and 670 scooters from Sherpa still under consideration.

The program expansion comes with new regulations, including designated drop-off zones to help clear sidewalks and the ability to report concerns about dockless devices to 311 or the MyLA311 app.

Shared electric scooters lie on a sidewalk in Los Angeles on Feb. 13, 2019. (Credit: Mark Ralston / AFP / Getty Images)

Shared electric scooters lie on a sidewalk in Los Angeles on Feb. 13, 2019. (Credit: Mark Ralston / AFP / Getty Images)

Currently, the city only has designated parking zones in downtown L.A., but various companies also have drop-off locations in their apps.

Transportation officials plan to expand the city’s parking zones over the next few months.

Not everyone has welcomed the dockless trend, with many residents complaining they’re a nuisance, an eyesore and dangerous.

In unincorporated areas of L.A. County, operators have agreed to limit their device’s reach while officials work to put regulations in place, according to the Los Angeles Times. Santa Monica and Beverly Hills have also taken action aimed at curbing the scooters’ spread.

Last week, a 53-year-old man died days after crashing a dockless scooter into a tree in downtown San Diego. It was the second fatality related to rented scooters in that county after a man riding a Bird was fatally struck by a car in Chula Vista late last year.

A recent UCLA study surveyed 249 people who were treated for head injuries, fractures, cuts and bruises at the university-run emergency rooms in Westwood and Santa Monica following electric scooter incidents. More than 90 percent of those hurt were scooter riders, but the group also included people who were accidentally hit by or tripped over them.

And last September, a 28-year-old man received L.A.’s first scooting under the influence conviction after Nicholas Kauffroath allegedly rode one while intoxicated and knocked over a 64-year-old pedestrian. Kauffroath was fined $550 and ordered to pay restitution.

For more information about the rules of the road, visit the LADOT website.

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