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Supervisor Barger Proposes E-Scooter Ban In Unincorporated County

5:08 PM PST on January 14, 2019

L.A. County is considering banning e-scooters in unincorporated areas. Photo of Santa Monica e-scooter corral – by Gary Kavanagh

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Revised 1/15 to note that "cease and desist" language was removed from the motion.

Tomorrow morning, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on an e-scooter ban motion proposed by Supervisor Kathryn Barger. The ban would apply to unincorporated L.A. County areas, except for Marina del Rey.

There are plenty of e-scooter bans in effect in L.A. County cities including Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Redondo Beach, and El Segundo. E-scooters operators are suing Beverly Hills seeking to overturn their ban.

Barger's motion states that "e-scooters in unincorporated Altadena and East Pasadena" are a "nuisance" and raise "serious public safety concerns over their operation in public rights of way."  If approved, the initial version of the motion would have directed the county to inform e-scooter companies "to immediately cease and desist their operations" in unincorporated L.A. County "until such time that regulations have been adopted" by the county.

A later version of the motion deleted the cease and desist language.

Barger's revised motion no longer calls for banning e-scooters. Screenshot of revised motion
Barger's revised motion no longer calls for banning e-scooters. Screenshot of revised motion

The motion further designates the county's CEO to enter into any agreements necessary to implement "a pilot permitting program."

The proposed ban would not apply to e-scooters in Marina del Rey. Those scooters are planned to be part of a pilot program that the county's Department of Beaches and Harbors is working to establish.

Unsurprisingly, e-scooter companies have been critical of "immediate" bans enacted as part of municipality votes. Typically for a municipality to ban something, an initial motion would direct legal staff to develop legally-binding ordinance language, which would then come back for later adoption. The county could send e-scooter companies letters telling them to cease and desist operations, but it may be difficult for the county to just cite the passage of the motion as a full-on legally-binding prohibition.

In late 2018, the County Board of Supervisors passed motions directing county agencies to study e-scooter issues, compile recommendations for best practices, and begin a formal e-scooter pilot. That work remains in process.

Barger's motion will be heard at tomorrow morning's 9:30 a.m. board meeting.

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