Councilmember Koretz Calls E-Scooters “Anti-Vision Zero,” Pushes to “Get Rid of These”

Photo: Nathan Rupert/Flickr/CC
Photo: Nathan Rupert/Flickr/CC

This afternoon, the Los Angeles City Council Transportation Committee discussed e-scooters. Scooters are the most prominent component of the city’s Dockless Bike / Scooter Share Pilot Program. Though the hearing did not alter the city’s current shared mobility pilot program underway, it did shed some light on how the program is going and how councilmembers stand on e-scooter issues.

L.A. City Councilmember Paul Koretz made his views very clear, stating that his goal is “to get rid of these” e-scooters.

He termed e-scooters “anti-Vision Zero” due to his perception that they cause injuries. There are a few double standards at play here. Injuries caused by drivers/cars are orders of magnitude greater than those caused by riders/e-scooters. Additionally, many injuries to e-scooter riders are the fault of drivers. Note that Koretz has opposed L.A. City Vision Zero measures, so one might expect him to be in support of something that is anti-Vision Zero… but not when it comes to e-scooters.

Koretz stated that he sees “no safe place” for e-scooters. In Koretz formulation: E-scooter riding on the sidewalk is unsafe for pedestrians. E-scooters in the street are unsafe for the rider. The only place to e-scooter might be in bike lanes, which Koretz expressed would take a long time before there are enough of to be useful. Many SBLA readers will recall Koretz killing plans for Westwood bike lanes, though he has supported a few bike facilities. In Koretz’ logic, L.A. streets are just too dangerous and can only remain so, hence everyone should drive everywhere. (Koretz considers himself a climate champion, but takes car emissions for granted.)

Koretz authored a motion to get shared mobility companies to better cooperate with law enforcement. Koretz is proposing that scooter companies essentially automatically turn over user information, with privacy concerns mooted by users clicking to approve terms of use. According to the City Attorney and LADOT, under state law (governing car rentals) law enforcement needs to get a warrant for user data. Koretz settled for approving a recommendation from committee chair Councilmember Mike Bonin that companies adhere to best practices for responding to law enforcement warrants.

Councilmember Nury Martinez continues to push for shared mobility companies to serve a broader range of communities. Shared e-scooters and e-bikes continue to be much more concentrated in higher-income Westside neighborhoods and scarce in lower income communities of color including Martinez’ San Fernando Valley district.

Councilmember Bonin’s most prominent concern is the flip side of Martinez’. Bonin observed that some communities, including Venice, experience “over-saturation” with many companies leaving many e-scooters “on every corner.” Bonin expressed that shared mobility companies are “not living up to expectations” and need to “step up” to resolve issues.

The committee had agendized a motion by Councilmember Gil Cedillo to exclude his Council District 1 from the city’s current scooter-share/bike-share pilot. This motion was continued/postponed. During public comment, several CD1 residents spoke with many supportive of and others opposed to Cedillo’s proposed ban.

  • jennix

    Paul Koretz is a clown.

    He and Gil Cedillo can suck a bag of gasoline.

  • Ben Phelps

    What is wrong with Koretz. How much longer must we suffer these bozos.

  • rett bryson

    perhaps koretz wants to avoid the complete disaster these things are in venice.

  • Jennita Gutierrez

    Koretz is 100% right. Get rid of those scooters. The amount of people from scooter accidents is alarming. They get on a scooter, drive recklessly and end up in a coma or paralyzed for life. Statistics should be published on this but too soon I suppose. The amount of patients we receive is staggering. At least 3 new patients from scooter accidents per day. Ban scooters.

  • Gerhard W. Mayer

    Infuriatingly stupid from our councilmember. We do not provide safe space for little vehicles to ride, so nobody should ride little vehicles because it is too dangerous. BTW – we should all keep driving, which does not work because we have too many cars on the road already and we are all hopelessly stuck. And in about 10 years time we will light a climate fuse on the planet that will wipe out our species, largely because of our addiction to automobiles. But let’s not change that, especially not with e-scooters which contribute only a tiny fraction of the carbon load in comparison with cars. Arghh!

  • Justin Runia

    now do cars

  • Joe Linton

    If you want to reduce e-scooter “accidents” then you’ll want to slow down cars

  • Eric in DTLA

    I’ll take you serious when you apply the same logic to cars and the death they cause.

  • Ennnne

    Perhaps one of the reasons that none of us have any real data about scooter accidents is that the companies are sitting on it. I think it is entirely fair for the City to demand such data in exchange for allowing scooters to be ridden publicly.

    Why should scooter riders have privacy? Car drivers can’t hide from their insurance company, so let’s have all scooter riders have to carry insurance, and let the insurance market sort out the risk. They are very, very good at that.

    Or, we can just not have scooters at all, which would also be fine with me. Btw… it’s quite obvious that LA streets are not in safe condition for even bicyclists – witness the numerous huge payouts – some with *no car driver* involved at all, Joe – and it’s only going to be worse for the scooter folk since they don’t wear helmets. Not a dime should go to them, sorry. We have *all been warned* about the condition of LA streets.

  • Joe Linton

    What “numerous huge payouts” are you referring to?

  • Ennnne

    Just the ones I’m confident you already know of. Point being, we all just need to be careful. I’ve been injured bc of the poor condition of LA streets, but in my case, it was my own fault bc I wasn’t looking. There isn’t money to fix all the streets any time soon, so we all have to take responsibility … as should scooter riders. I think it’s inherently unsafe to ride one in the street.

    https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-bike-payouts-20180203-htmlstory.html

  • “There is no safe place for e-scooters cars. They are anti-Vision zero.”

    https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2019/06/17/downtown-la-lyft-tesla-crash-pedestrians/

  • Joe Linton

    I wrote about how the L.A. Times got that story wrong https://la.streetsblog.org/2018/02/06/l-a-city-council-and-media-are-getting-the-bicyclist-lawsuit-stories-wrong/ If you’re worried about the city’s “huge payouts” then you’ll want to get informed about the city’s payouts for people hit by drivers – which is way more than the bicyclists lawsuits.

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