Go-karts are now zipping past electric scooters on the Santa Monica beach bike path – and both are operating illegally.

A company called Gogogo is renting go-karts for people to drive along the beach, even though City Council outlawed all electric and motorized devices on the path in August of last year. The ban made explicit a long-standing moratorium on motorized transit along the beach path and clarified rules that had been called into question by the emergence of motorized scooters.

While scooters are officially banned from the path and e-scooter companies are supposed to take steps to prohibit use along the path, it is still common for people to ride scooters in the banned zone that includes the beach path, all sidewalks and city parks.

“Prohibiting devices on the beach bike path is aimed at reducing collisions and increasing safety for all users of this popular bike path,” Deputy City Manager Anuj Gupta said in August.

Gogogo founder Jay Pak said he will continue to rent the go-karts until the City of Santa Monica enforces its own laws. He launched the service in late December.

“I’m operating under what the electric scooters have been afforded so far,” he said. “If they regulate the scooters then I’ll have to move somewhere else.”

City officials maintain that the go-karts are not allowed on the path.

Are electric go-karts allowed on the bike path? Things are crowded enough with e-scooter folks still riding on the bike path,” Santa Monica resident Declan Durcan tweeted at City Manager Rick Cole on Wednesday.

“Absolutely not,” Cole tweeted in reply.

Children as young as 10 are allowed to drive the go-karts with parental permission, Pak said. All customers sign a waiver releasing Gogogo from liability before renting a device and the company is fully insured, he said.

“It’s an experience for the kids where they get to try driving for the first time,” he said. “Adults get to feel like a kid again. The reception has been phenomenal.”

Pak said the go-karts are no more dangerous than riding a bike or driving a car.

“I’ve yet to see an accident,” he said. “We do safety tutorials and make sure all components of the vehicle are working before we rent it out.”

The go-karts are manufactured by Segway and are called Ninebots. The company launched an Indiegogo campaign in September and is selling the devices for about $1,300. Pak said he saw the go-karts on Indiegogo and thought Santa Monica would be an ideal place to rent them out. Gogogo’s rates are $1 per minute and the company typically rents the go-karts in 30 to 60 minute intervals, he said.

“Lime and Bird really increased the appetite and tolerance for micro-mobility options and I thought Santa Monica would be a great ground to launch something like this,” he said.

The company is currently operating near a parking lot at 2 Arcadia Terrace but Pak said he is seeking a physical storefront.

madeleine@smdp.com

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2 Comments

  1. Here’s a solid solution: Any kart rider is fined $1000 for a violation. The kart company is fined $2000. And the kart is confiscated. Same goes for scooters.

    That punishment would also work well for pet owners who don’t clean up after their dogs.

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