Do you know where you can legally park a scooter? Does your insurance cover you in a crash? What is the next evolution of the devices?
These questions and more will be the subject of a free lecture at the Santa Monica Library on Oct. 24 by local attorney Jerry Konell (co-presented by the LA Law Library as part of Pro Bono Week).
“I’ve lived here for 25 years,” said Konell. “We need to educate the public on what’s going on, there’s a lot of anger out there and there’s a lot of misunderstanding.”
Konell said the devices have only been in existence for a couple of years and there’s still a lot of learning to be done around their use. However, he said the talk isn’t an anti-scooter rally, it’s about the way the law has and should adapt to their presence.
“There’s a learning curve for pedestrians, motorists, scooters and the city,” he said. “That’s what’s really happening now. If you think about it, people with horses were really angry about cars coming around and this is the same issue, there’s a lot of learning needed.”
He said his approach is targeted for anyone, including riders, non-riders and officials.
Santa Monica implemented a pilot program in 2018 that authorized Bird, Lime, Lyft and Jump, which is owned by Uber, to operate within city limits. The program comes to a close at the end of this year and Council will be discussions on the subject in November.
The City initiated the program following the rapid proliferation of the devices in late 2017, when Bird first launched in Santa Monica. The initial phase of the program deployed public education and signage around scooter safety, including bus advertising and painted stencils marking out no-ride zones.
While scooters and electric bikes are not allowed on the beach bike path, the park and the Promenade, the City currently requires the companies to slow down devices in the prohibited areas instead of halting them.
The City is also trying to control where riders park their scooters and bikes. Dedicated in-street and off-street parking zones for scooters and bikes have been installed throughout Santa Monica, clustering in commercial areas like Main Street and Montana Avenue.
Konell said everyone, whether they ride scooters or not, should be aware of the liability concerns around the devices. Konell’s talk will include information on the way insurance companies are handling scooter cases, if they provide coverage at all and where he thinks the responsibility should lie in the future.
“The last part of the lecture is where is this all going and I hypothesize and project where this is all going in the lecture,” he said. “The one thing I do suggest is the State seems to be very active in creating legislation, maybe the State should do what they did with automobiles and mandate minimum policies for scooters.”
“Avoiding Scootergeddon: Scooter Laws and Safety” will be held Thursday, October 24, at 7 p.m. in the Main Library’s Multipurpose Room, 601 Santa Monica Blvd.
This program is free and open to all ages. Seating is limited and on a first-arrival basis. The Santa Monica Public Library is wheelchair accessible. For disability-related accommodations, call Library Administration at (310) 458-8606 at least one week prior to the event. The Main Library is served by Big Blue Bus routes 1, R10 and 18.