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'The Herpes Of Urban Transit' And Other Scooter Feelings You Shared With Us

(Chava Sanchez/ LAist)
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Hot-blooded scooter hate is very real. This has been well established. But what about the love? With a million rides reported by Los Angeles transportation officials in the first month of the city's grand scooter experiment, clearly many of you adore these contraptions. Others still have complex, conflicted, nuanced or otherwise colorful feelings.

So we asked you this direct question: Are scooters your mobility solution or your neighborhood menace?

Here's a sampling of how you, our beloved LAist readers, responded. Comments have been edited for clarity and style.


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Kelsey Harris:

I think they're a great idea, in theory. I rode them around D.C. and had a great time. However, here in Silver Lake (and the majority of L.A. neighborhoods), our streets are so rickety that I didn't really feel safe riding them in the bike lane, and I felt like a jerk riding them on the sidewalk, so I haven't been using them. My partner works near USC and he rides them daily to go get lunch, so they can be handy!

Kameron VanWoerkom:
I love them. I've become a huge fan and use them frequently in downtown L.A. [where] I see other riders all the time. I even invested in my own scooter.

Riding scooters downtown has made me appreciate and understand the poor quality of our bike infrastructure and streets overall. The pavement is terrible and bike lanes are treacherous. Even the best bike lanes (on Figueroa) could use some improvement. For example, they run one-way but they are so well-protected that they attract two-way traffic.

L.A. also has a long way to go in understanding that the bike lane is a traffic lane that can not be parked, idled or loitered in. I hope that the scooter "revolution" takes cars off the road and brings more people into the car-free-mobility umbrella. Maybe we can see improved infrastructure as a result.

We're as shocked as you are to see an e-scooter rider apparently following the rules. (Courtesy LADOT)
Tory H.:
I think they have potential to be a great asset to transportation, especially in a city with transportation issues like Los Angeles, but it seems irresponsible [of] the city and the companies involved to just release them into the wild without proper infrastructure planning.

I live in East Hollywood / Los Feliz, where there are no bike lanes on the narrow roads and the sidewalks are also narrow and uneven. As a pedestrian, I've been nearly barreled over by scooters flying down the sidewalks, but it's equally terrifying to see scooters flying down the streets in between parked cars and moving cars. In places like Santa Monica, where there are bike lanes, it seems safer, but it's wild out here!

Henry Morillo:
I love using the e-scooters and they have really helped me get around my surrounding neighborhoods easily, which is nice because my immediate neighborhood does not have many food or recreation options. Most people I know who use them, ride on the sidewalks, not on the streets. We know that is not the right way, but the streets feel much more dangerous. Drivers are not good at dealing with bicyclists, let alone scooters.

Sarah Anderson:
Scooters are great! Overall, I really like them and we need more micromobility in L.A., not less. But L.A. is not set up with good bike infrastructure and has excessive traffic, making it dangerous. Unfortunately, many [users] are not trained in scooter riding (I have been riding my trusty GoPed kick scooter for 20 years). Scooters are not like bikes in that they make sharper turns and should require helmet use.

Scooter vandals are abhorrent and anyone posting that on social media should have to pay for the damage.

Thomas Praderio:
I use them almost every day (mostly to replace Uber or Lyft trips). They've completely changed the way I move around downtown. The only thing holding these devices back from significantly impacting travel habits is the lack of dedicated road space. L.A. needs more protected bike lanes, everywhere, yesterday.

People ride shared electric scooters in Santa Monica on July 13, 2018. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

Topher Hendricks:

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I love them. I've had so many horrible close-calls with drivers in cars in Los Angeles almost every day. Cars are also the leading cause of climate change, so I am grateful to see scooters challenge cars' dangerous and irresponsible hegemony in this city.

Landon Manjikianl:
In August last year, I moved to an area of Santa Monica that allowed me to walk to work in about 30 minutes. I still had a car, but when my lease ended in October, I decided to try out not having a car. I use my bike, ride-shares, Metro and scooters, and they're all used for slightly different reasons. All together, they allow me to not have a car.

Sam Read:
They're perfect for those 1-2 mile trips that L.A. has a ton of -- not just a quick, cheap, and fun way to reach places, but one that most importantly is emissions-free, which is crucial as we continue to address climate change.

Improper scooter riding on display. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

Liz B.:

I refer to them as the herpes of urban transit because they're unattractive and annoying, yet here to stay. While I hate them, I understand they fill a need for affordable, convenient last-mile transit, which is why they are so popular.

As a bicyclist who went car-free last year, I'm all for moving away from cars. But as a pedestrian, I'm frustrated by how scooters speed up stupidity.

Nicole Hadjioannou:
I work at UCLA and I see students in near scooter accidents almost daily. On one hand I think they are a great solution for mobility. On the other hand, I am surprised that more students have not been grievously injured. Scootering with headphones on, while texting, wearing flip flops, with a yoga mat tucked under one arm and going through red lights oblivious to your surroundings -- not a good idea!

Jillian Alexander:
I live and work in Santa Monica. One thing the city of L.A. is doing better than SaMo is using its 311 operators to capture complaints and notify e-scooter operators. SaMo traffic enforcement refers citizens to e-scooter operators' toll-free complaint numbers, essentially conveying the message that citizens are on our own. No wonder many of us find e-scooters to be more a nuisance than a useful transportation option.

Susan Arick:
I would be fine with them if the people who use them were responsible. As a pedestrian, I've been hit once and almost hit several other times. I feel like I have to constantly be on the alert, and I'm sick of seeing them in parks and other places they don't belong. It's a free-for-all, and I don't get the sense that riders are using them to "commute." (They're) mostly joy riders.

Shared electric scooters lie on a Los Angeles sidewalk on February 13, 2019. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)
Wally O'Shay:
(It's) a preposterous notion that any company is allowed to litter the city with their for-profit garbage. What about the concerns of actual citizens, homeowners, business owners that are forced to deal with (the) f---ing things?

Jeanine Edgington:
Living in downtown Long Beach, I personally LOATHE the scooters. They are a safety hazard to myself and my dog when I am walking. Intoxicated humans, tourists and minors ride without concern for others.

Crystal C.:
"I work with the senior population and these scooters -- left on sidewalks as they often are -- cause great hardship to older adults who may use mobility devices."

Mike Williams:
I live in West Hollywood and our city decided to not allow the e-scooters and bikes to be dropped off within city limits. The problem is that WeHo is surrounded by Los Angeles on three sides, so scooters and e-bikes are dropped off just outside WeHo city limits and many are used in West Hollywood.

I'm disturbed that the scooters and e-bikes are mostly ridden on the sidewalk where it is dangerous as a pedestrian. I walk most everywhere I go within WeHo and have had to jump out of the way nearly daily from noiseless e-scooters riding on the sidewalk -- despite the fact that there is a separate bike path on the western part of [town].

Dockless electric scooters line the sidewalk on Central Avenue near 2nd Street in Little Tokyo on May 5, 2019. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)
Tracy Hall:
How is it OK for these "disruptive" companies to use public walkways as their private storage? I couldn't park freight on the sidewalks; I couldn't install freezers or storage out on the sidewalks. Why are these companies allowed to profit without providing the infrastructure?

Maria Virobik:
I have never ridden one. In a car-centric city, I wouldn't feel safe.

The concept is admirable and perhaps in a world where "I know better" and "I can do whatever I want" aren't the prevailing mindsets, scooters would be a viable transportation option. I often hear scooter advocates countering anti-scooter attitudes with statements about the unsustainability of cars, the need to find alternative transportation methods that don't add to the problem, create more traffic, etc. All true, but the scooter "solution" is only as good as the worst scooter user, of which there are many.

Until L.A. (and any other city that allows scooters) can figure out a way to ensure safe ridership and responsible usage (including not dropping scooters wherever they feel like it, following rules of traffic, etc.), I don't see them as anything more than a nuisance, and one that will continue to generate just as much hatred as it does fans.