- The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved new rules Tuesday for dockless bikes and scooters ahead of a one-year pilot program.
- The city's Department of Transportation (LADOT) will issue permits to dockless companies during an initial 120-day Conditional Use Permit (CUP) period. After that period, a one-year pilot will begin with operators limited to 3,000 vehicles each, a requirement that they be parked upright and out of the public right-of-way, and Council office will be allowed to determine how they are rolled out in their district.
- "Today is a big day for dockless bikes and scooters in Los Angeles, ensuring not only the safety of riders and other road users, but also for the development of first-last mile option in the City," City Councilmember David Ryu, who introduced the initial motion for LADOT to develop the rules, said in a statement.
Dockless vehicles had been illegal on Los Angeles streets, with LADOT issuing a cease-and-desist letter to scooter operator Bird in June as the City Council wrestled with an issue that has vexed many other cities. Los Angeles struggled to enforce its ban on scooters and bikes due to the size of the city and the companies’ roll-out, and because of a disagreement on whether the language imposing a moratorium was broad enough to include both scooters and bikes.
The LA City Council just voted to welcome dockless bikes and scooters to Los Angeles. The future is shared and electric. pic.twitter.com/jPEuyw5egv— Eric Bruins (@ejfbruins) September 4, 2018
It is significant that these new rules allow each city district to determine its own way of doing things, as the diversity of Los Angeles and its neighborhoods means that each will have different needs that can be served through a more holistic approach to dockless. Councilmember Mike Bonin, who chairs the Council’s Transportation Committee, said in a fact sheet he "has been clear about the need to make these new devices work for our neighborhoods by imposing strong requirements to address concerns regarding riding on sidewalks, unsafe parking, lack of user education and the need for outreach to local stakeholders."
Meanwhile, LADOT has already proposed an expansion of its Metro Bike Share program, so as the city tries to get its infamous traffic congestion under control, officials clearly hope adding more options in a controlled way will help do just that. And it could serve as a model for other cities in Los Angeles County, with the likes of Beverly Hills, CA looking at regulations of its own while nearby Santa Monica, CA recently announced four companies to participate in its pilot program.