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E-scooters on the beach bike path? Long Beach is looking into that

The Long Beach City Council requested a feasibility study to determine if e-scooters could safely operate on the beach bike path, where scooters are currently banned.

E-scooters on the beach bike path? Long Beach is looking into that
Long Beach could eventually allow e-scooters on the city’s beach path, which stretches from Belmont Shore to Shoreline Village.

The Long Beach City Council asked for a feasibility study at its meeting on Tuesday to determine if e-scooter riders, who have been largely banned from the city’s beach bike path for years, should be allowed to ride along the path that stretches from Belmont Shore to Shoreline Village.

Councilmember Cindy Allen asked for the study, saying that the city has an opportunity to make the path more accessible to everyone by allowing scooters onto the path.

“I’m also hoping that this just starts a conversation that can address all the illegal activity that happens on our bike paths,” Allen said Tuesday. “I literally saw last night a car on our bike path. I was like, ‘What are you doing? You can’t drive your car on the bike path.’ I See ATVs out there.”

Allen asked for the study to come back to the council in 30 days.

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The city launched its pilot micro-mobility program in 2018 and e-scooters quickly became a sore subject for some who said that they were creating safety issues as scooters were being discarded in streets, blocking sidewalks and contributing to other hazards.

Scooters were banned from the beach bike path as well as other bike paths near the city’s marinas. Riders are also required to ride in a bike lane or in the street if the posted speed limit is under 25 mph and riding on the sidewalk is also banned in certain parts of the city.

Councilmember Kristina Duggan, one of two members who voted against the feasibility study Tuesday, said that nearly 600 people in her district had responded to a questionnaire sent out by her office with most opposing the idea of e-scooters being allowed on the beach paths.

“Scooters are great for that last mile transportation but when we allow them in the recreational areas like this it really raises concerns for people seeing more and more modes of transportation in a limited area,” Duggan said.

She questioned if the city would have the resources to enforce rules that might be implemented if the council did vote to allow scooters to operate on the path.

Duggan and Allen both represent districts that encompass stretches of the city’s beach path and Duggan’s predecessor, former Councilmember Suzie Price, helped push for the ban on scooters on the city’s bike paths.

Companies were supposed to limit scooter use through geo-fencing features, programmed by companies who have deployed scooters in Long Beach. Such features are supposed to shut a scooter off if it’s detected on the bike path or prevent a rider from starting or ending a ride along the path.

Dozens of emails sent to the council spelled out the concerns of some residents who said that allowing e-scooters onto the path could lead to discarded scooters littering the bike path and potential injuries to pedestrians or cyclists.

The city’s Public Works Department is expected to return to the council in 30 days with a report that could determine if e-scooter use can safely be integrated into the city’s beach bike paths.


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