By Nick Antonicello
One needs to be consistent in what outrages one and while many are now somewhat relieved that Venice Beach is inching back to normal with the cleanup of the encampments, what is being done to clean-up the proliferation of scooters on virtually every corner?
They are out-of-control and everywhere and this behavior is unacceptable by any standard.
Why is Venice Beach; a “personal parking lot” for these ungrateful and irresponsible neighbors who do next to nothing to clean-up their act here in Dog Town?
For it doesn’t matter which operating vendor you mention, they are all equally guilty in polluting the streets closest to the boardwalk while being personally responsible for the loss of dozens of bike shops and other brick and mortar retailers that could not compete with a business model that has a virtual blank check when it comes to the thousands of scooters and other electric devices that flood Venice Beach each and every weekend!
This protected monopoly of vendors created by the City of Los Angeles while Councilman Mike Bonin looks the other way, why is this industry allowed to operate free of any regulation or compliance of traffic laws that see these devices speeding on sidewalks, the boardwalk and a danger and menace to pedestrians with no consequences?
The “wild west” atmosphere on the boardwalk goes unattended as some of these bikes and scooters run at obscene rates of speed with no regard for those walking on by.
Nearly no one wears a helmet and many are “riding two at a time” as they have made the boardwalk dangerous and hostile for those who want to shop and visit Venice free of getting run over by an obnoxious scooter or other electric device rider!
I have said time and time again that not only do these scooters and electric devices need to be regulated, but must be segregated from the boardwalk and bike path with a separate, newly constructed path of their own from the Venice Pier to the Santa Monica Pier and let these unregulated vendors finally give back to the community by letting them invest in a scooter path of their own.
For why is this never even considered and why are they allowed to take, but never give back?
Why doesn’t LA fine and ticket drivers of these devices as you would any licensed driver of an automobile, motorcycle or scooter and use that revenue to beautify the boardwalk?
You have the woefully unused police substation at the beach that should be populated with traffic compliance personnel that should be ticketing these drivers for the plethora of illegal usage such as driving on the boardwalk or two riders per vehicle.
For what has to occur before the “knucklehead” device companies start acting like a responsible and accountable city vendor?
Before the pandemic “geo-fencing” was installed so that riders could not zoom through the historic canal bridges, but the problem has been nothing but exported to virtually every other street in Venice making the situation safe for the few and dangerous for most, unless you’re a resident of the canals!
The streets of Venice should be free of encampments as well as parking lots and storage centers for these electric devices of every stripe.
There are literally thousands here at the beach and the number is far too many with three and four devices per corner no matter what time of the day or night.
For why is this industry allowed to operate in a manner that no one else would ever dare consider, and when did the sidewalks of Venice become “car lots” for these devices when operated in a way that flies in the face of safety and are far more of a problem then a solution when it comes to local mobility here in Venice?
A strategy and a plan for homeless encampments can be achieved through public policy discipline and goals and objectives that work.
The same can be said for the unbridled fashion the scooter device community is trampling and literally running over the residents of Venice and it needs to stop now!
The writer is a member of the Oceanfront Walk, Outreach and Parking Committees of the Venice Neighborhood Council (www.venicenc.org) and can be reached at (310) 621-3775 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org