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Police Impound E-Mini Bikes, Stop E-Vehicle Riders on Beach Bike Path

Bob Kronovetrealty
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Santa Monica Convention and Visitors

By Jorge Casuso

May 28, 2019 -- Santa Monica police impounded nearly three dozen e-bikes and pulled over more than 150 riders of e-vehicles illegally using the beach bike path Friday afternoon.

All 32 vehicles impounded were Wheels seated electronic devices rented in Los Angeles, where the company is authorized to operate, police officials said.

"They're coming in from Venice and LA," said Lt. Candice Cobarrubias, the Police Department spokesperson. "They're allowed to operate in Los Angeles but not in Santa Monica."

Wheels is licensed to operate 3,000 electric mini bikes as part of LA's dockless mobility program that currently includes some 20,000 e-vehicles, according to LAist.

The vehicles were impounded by Santa Monica Code Enforcement officers, since Wheels is not licensed to operate in the city, Cobarrubias said.

The sergeant and five traffic officers who staffed the crackdown on the bike path pulled over 93 e-bicycles and 75 e-scooters during the operation from noon to 6 p.m.

There were no citations issued during the operation, which focused on informing riders that e-vehicles are banned from the beach bike path in Santa Monica.

Police began cracking down on electric scooters on the path last July after giving rider a pass because the municipal law was unclear.

The Police Department's Traffic Enforcement Unit on Friday also conducted a Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety operation throughout the downtown area.

Officers stopped 4 e-scooter riders and issued 2 citations, made 8 pedestrians stops and issued 4 citations and made 16 vehicle stops and issued 13 citations.

The enforcement is part of an ongoing campaign aimed at educating those who share the road about traffic laws.

Last July, police staged a high-profile crackdown of electric scooter riders Downtown that was part of the education and enforcement campaign.

During the two-and-a-half-hour operation, traffic officers stopped 105 riders and issued 59 citations, police said.

A recent survey found that nearly two-thirds of e-scooter and e-bike riders in Santa Monica live outside the city ("City Survey Finds E-Scooter, E-Bike Riders Are Affluent, Live Outside City," May 10, 2019).

While 86 percent said they know riding on sidewalks is illegal, 20 percent of the respondents said they do so. Those who reported riding on sidewalks are more likely to live outside Santa Monica.

More than 70 percent said they know riding e-scooter and bikes on the Promenade and Beach Path is illegal.

Friday's operation is part of a program paid for with a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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