Shared Mobility Devices were the hot topic at the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee on Oct. 10. Government Affairs Committee Chair David Mirharooni moderated the forum, which featured a discussion with representatives from several companies specializing in the shared mobility market, including Morgan Roth (Bird), Karla M. Ownwanne (Lime), Douglas Curl (Spin) and Tom Schreiber (Perch). Blair Schlecter, Vice President of Economic Development and Government Affairs, tells the Courier that the majority of the company’s representatives focused their comments on the use of scooters and Perch shared that its company provides charging areas for scooters. City of Beverly Hills Public Information Officer Keith Sterling told the Courier that there is currently a ban in Beverly Hills on the use of shared mobility devices; however, there is a City study session scheduled for Oct. 29 to consider a potential pilot program.
Schlecter explained that the Committee decided to take up the issue of shared mobility devices because business owners had expressed interest in learning more about the subject matter. He stated that questions from business owners included how to handle people riding scooters on the sidewalk, how to ensure that scooters are parked in appropriate places, and how not to block pedestrian walkways. “Some of the companies have new technology that they are working on to educate people about safety,” he explained. This technology includes safety tips on company apps that users can access on phones and other smart devices.
Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Johnson noted that scooters seem to be particularly prevalent in areas like Santa Monica and around UCLA. He pointed out that the safety issue is the biggest challenge that the Beverly Hills community has with these shared mobility devices. He said that companies specializing in these devices are now beginning to address some of those concerns. “It’s a neat alternative for transportation,” said Johnson, “If the city is set up to accommodate scooters, it would work.”
Schlecter stated that the shared mobility companies talked about innovative changes that they are making with the aid of technology, such as the ability to track scooters by geographic region, record their speeds, and remotely decelerate them to ensure that riders are within the speed limits. He also shared that the companies discussed their outreach initiatives such as providing free helmets to users.
The mobile share representatives provided interesting information such as the fact that many of the scooter users are 30 years old and older. They also emphasized that scooters help to reduce traffic congestion by providing an alternative means of transportation, particularly for those with shorter distances to travel. The discussion also addressed how additional bike lanes for scooter users might contribute to safer use.