I just about got run over last night.
I was crossing the sidewalk to the outdoor eating area “build-out” on Broadway. It was at dusk, and I understand the lighting was dim. As I stepped off the curb I had to look both ways and before I could look to the right, an e-scooter came down the bike lane going really fast. I got knocked back, spilled my water, and almost fell (I grabbed onto a pillar for support). He didn’t stop, just kept on going, as if nothing happened.
I have to tell you it was very frightening. Oh, I know all my opponents will say I am exaggerating and making a big deal out of nothing, but in fact, I really was frightened. I don’t usually bring this up, but I have 2 hip replacements and had my spine screwed together as my 4th Lumbar vertebrae had been broken in half and I simply mustn’t fall. The replacements would not survive such trauma let alone my back.
I am sharing this incident because I am concerned. Why would we bring the e-scooters back so rapidly when we had built out these “temporary” dining spaces in the streets? It makes no sense whatsoever. Bikes are dangerous enough to cross but they generally are not going 35 miles an hour. A little timed patience on the part of the City would have been better. But enough for me. Please be careful my friends. Next time I will just stand in place and really look long and hard before I cross from the sidewalk.
Here is the gist of my post. Once again the City has decided to allow Lime and Razor to install their e-scooters and bikes on the City Streets of Long Beach. Some people love these new vehicles and find them fun to ride, but we have heard so many complaints about them that it is time to make some REAL solutions so everyone is happy. Background: The e-scooters and “rent-a bikes” are not owned by the City. They are owned by private companies that have signed a contract of agreement with the City. In the original broadcast of these new items, the City said that the cost to the City would be $0.00. What is true is that the City paid John Tully, CEO of Pedal Movement, 1.2 million dollars for the bike exchange program on a yearly basis.
We do not have information about how much the City paid Razor or Lime. ( public records request put in)These are all contracts of agreement. Just like you sign a contract to get construction done or something else. Contracts are negotiated. That means that both parties come to a mutually agreeable contract and they sign those documents to affirm their agreements. Everything suggested here can be written into the Contracts with these companies which highly benefit from being in the City. In fact, these companies cannot exist without contracts with Cities.
1.) E-scooters should be regulated by the contracted company and held liable for any non-compliance. A Medical Liability Insurance Coverage should be mandated for all vehicle companies to cover injuries to people.
2.) Helmets should be required to ride both bikes and e-scooters. They can be for rent or one can take their own, but the mandatory wearing of helmets should be a City restriction and requirement. (for background we have had serious accidents and head injuries)
3.) Fines for non-compliance should be made very clear on the location one picks up a bike or e-scooter. Credit Cards and some sort of ID must be required to rent these alternative travel vehicles so that we can fine and track problem users.
4.) There should be designated “drop off” points for all bikes and e-scooters. (It is not the job of the City nor the residents to trip over e-scooters left on sidewalks, on lawns and elsewhere and they are an ADA disaster when left in such places) Companies should hire a pickup service to retrieve all e-scooters and bikes from throughout the City. If they choose not to, then independent companies can pick up these items and charge the companies a rental and service charge for doing the work for them. E-scooters left outside of designated areas should be cited and fined by the City, and the fines collected by the City through the contracted companies upon renewal of their contracts on a yearly basis.
5.) DECALS for the streets and sidewalks should be installed to educate riders as to where they may ride and where they may not ride. Sidewalks cannot be used. Bike lanes can be used, when there is no bike lane only the street can be used. Non-compliance can be a finable offense. These educational and instructional decals can direct users to the nearest drop off area and advise riders as to the geofencing boundaries. The Cost of these Decals in the Downtown area is $7800.00 which should be no problem for the City, and if needed should be paid for by the companies that provide the service.
6.) Geofencing must be installed on the boundaries of the Downtown area. Since these are mainly tourist vehicles, speed can be altered by geofencing as well as stopping the vehicle from further progress just like shopping carts. The City will determine what the boundaries are and what speeds are appropriate per area. Speeding e-scooters are dangerous to skateboarders, and bicycle riders and now pedestrians since they occupy the same lanes.
7.) Rules of the Road should be posted at the pick-up nodes. All vehicles must stop at all stop signs and stoplights. Hand signals must be used. Vehicles must obey all other ordinary traffic rules. Non-compliance will be fined and debited off the credit card used.
8.) Companies supplying these vehicles are responsible for the disposal of vehicles that have been misused, taken apart, or vandalized in order to keep the City clean.
9.) The City must determine what streets may be used for bikes, e-scooters, and the like. Use outside of those restrictions should be prohibited. If the City cannot deploy Police to enforce these rules, then the City must provide independent enforcement people who really do their jobs. We have several security firms within our boundaries. Build this cost into the fee charged to these companies. Which brings me to the last item. There MUST be a fee for service for these contracts. These are businesses and must be charged like any other business, and at a higher rate due to the danger involved in their operation.