Anyone that thought the Great Scooter Debate of 2018 was over after the City Council approved a pilot program earlier this year was jolted back to a harsh reality after the SMPD conducted an aggressive “scooter crackdown” last Friday.
SMPD confiscated roughly 100 scooters that were in-use or parked on the Santa Monica Beach Bike Path. As the scooters are considered a motorized vehicle in existing state law, they would not be allowed to use the path that is reserved for non-motorized transportation. The SMPD posted pictures and scooter use guidelines on their Facebook Page while announcing the crackdown which they referred to as a “public information campaign.”
Reaction to the action was swift. Website “Systemic Failure” noted that, “the Santa Monica PD has eliminated all crime and car crashes in their city — because what could possibly be less important than this.”
Speaking for the Santa Monica, City Manager Rick Cole defended the action, noting that
True, but the difference is most scooter riders are novices. It's like having all cars driven/bikes ridden by people doing it for the first time. It will get better, but right now it is pretty frightening — for them as well as others. https://t.co/JHeoei0Prw
— Rick Cole (@urbanistcole) July 22, 2018
Is the city over-reacting to the Great Scooter Invasion of 2018, or is it just struggling to find a balance while new technologies are trying to fill a gap in local transportation needs? We welcome and encourage your thoughts in the comments section.