Santa Monica proposes tougher rules for Bird and other scooter rental companies

When the electric scooters descended on Santa Monica in September, the city wasn’t prepared.

Overnight, it was inundated with motorized two-wheelers. People began riding them in the middle of the street and on sidewalks at speeds of up to 15 mph, often without helmets. They’re parked against storefronts and in walkways and alleys. They block driveways, create trip hazards and, to many residents, are a nuisance.

Ten months on, the Santa Monica City Council is preparing to vote Tuesday on a 16-month pilot program, due to begin Sept. 17, that would rein in scooter rental companies such as Bird and the recently launched Lime.

The proposal includes higher permitting fees, a cap on the number of scooters allowed in the city and tougher rules that, if broken, would result in the rental company losing its permit to operate in the city.

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