About half of scooter and bicycle riders used the devices to replace a car trip but locals made up only 35 percent of total trips in Santa Monica, according to the results of a survey tracking usage of e-scooters and on-demand bike rentals.
Most people who ride e-scooters and e-bikes in Santa Monica are young (42 percent are between 25-34), male and affluent (37 percent reported income over $100,000), according to a survey released Wednesday.
The user survey was created by the City of Santa Monica and was open to responses from Jan. 25 to Feb. 15. The four scooter and bike companies authorized to operate in the city distributed the survey through email and in-app pop-ups. A total of 4,700 users self-selected to respond to the survey, with approximately 3,000 completing all 21 questions.
The survey gathered demographic information and gauged riders’ knowledge of Santa Monica’s shared mobility pilot program, which launched last September and regulates Bird, Lime, Lyft and Jump (which is owned by Uber).
Only 10 percent of those surveyed reported being unfamiliar with the pilot program, including its prohibition on riding on sidewalks, and 59 percent said they were very familiar with it.
86 percent of all riders know they are not allowed to ride on the sidewalk, but 20 percent still do. 77 percent ride on streets with bike lanes and half ride on streets without bike lanes and 20 percent ride on the sidewalk. About 70 percent know that they can’t ride on the Promenade or beach path and slightly less than half know they are not allowed in Palisades Park.
According to the survey, 35 percent of riders are Santa Monicans, 44 percent are from elsewhere in Los Angeles County and 21 percent live outside the county.
42 percent are between 25 and 34, 21 percent are 18 to 24 and two percent are under 18. 34 percent are 35 and older. 69 percent are men. About half of riders earn more than $75,000. 28 percent earn between $30,000 and $75,000 and 20 percent earn less than $30,000. Three-quarters of riders own a vehicle, less than 10 percent share a vehicle and 15 percent don’t have access to one.
Riders use scooters and bikes for a wide range of purposes. Work and recreation trips were the most commonly reported trips, at 31 percent and 23 percent of trips, respectively.
“Respondents reported that 50 percent of their most recent shared mobility trips displaced a car trip (including drive alone, ride share services, taxi, etc.),” said the results. “While 38 percent of shared mobility trips displace a walking trip.”
Most respondents said their use of other transit options (train, bus, personal bikes, Breeze Bikes and walking) were unchanged but among those who had changed their habits all other forms of transit lost users overall. About 16 percent of bike/scooter riders said they use the train more while 23 percent said they used it less. Only 3.4 percent of riders said they used Breeze more often while 40 percent said they used it less. The results said 18 percent of respondents reported walking more while 24 percent reported walking less.
44 percent use the devices less than once per week, 30 percent use them one to three times per week and 26 percent use them more than three times per week. 54 percent said a lack of bike lanes prevent them from riding scooters or bikes as much as they would like, and 45 percent said it was difficult to locate the devices.
Two-thirds rarely or never use helmets, which is not a requirement in California under a state law that went into effect Jan. 1.