E-scooter riders will be included in a Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) enforcement sweep alongside drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians for the first time Friday.
Officers will be looking for traffic violations made by all four groups that put others at risk, including speeding, failing to stop for signs and signals, making illegal turns and failing to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. E-scooter and bike riders will be stopped for riding on the sidewalk, not complying with stop signs and signals and riding on the wrong side of the road. Officers will also look for pedestrians who cross the street illegally or fail to yield to drivers who have the right of way.
Funding for the program, which is scheduled between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m., is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. SMPD regularly conducts grant-funded programs, but this is the first time the department is including scooter riders in one of its enforcement actions.
“OTS approved SMPD to use funding that is normally designated for Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety operations to also include e scooter enforcement,” said Lieutenant Candice Covarrubias. “With the recent insurgence of scooters being used in cities throughout the state, OTS recognizes the need for education and enforcement of shared mobility devices.”
SMPD will be including e-scooters into some bicycle and pedestrian safety campaigns going forward, she said.
The department has issued more than 1,500 citations to scooter riders since the devices first arrived in Santa Monica. Under the City of Santa Monica’s shared mobility pilot program, motorized devices are not permitted on sidewalks, in parks, on the beach bike path, the Santa Monica Pier and the Third Street Promenade.
SMPD has announced a second safety enforcement action for May 13 and May 16, both from 6 – 8 p.m. to educate bicyclists, drivers, and pedestrians on traffic laws, rules and responsibilities.
“Officers will also look for pedestrians who cross the street illegally or fail to yield to drivers who have the right of way,” said the press release. “Bike riders will be stopped when riding on the sidewalk, the wrong side of the road, not complying with stop signs and signals, or other violation of the same traffic laws that apply to them as drivers.