Here Are LA's New Rules For Scooter Companies Like Bird And Lime

People ride shared electric scooters in Santa Monica on July 13, 2018. Scooter startups including Bird and Lime allow riders to park them anywhere that doesn't block pedestrian walkways, but residents in some cities, including here in Los Angeles, say they often litter sidewalks and can pose a danger to pedestrians. (Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

E-scooters have been buzzing around parts of Los Angeles for almost a year now, and regulations have been slow to catch up. But on Tuesday, the L.A. City Council voted 13-0 to approve a set of rules for the dockless devices.

The new pilot program creates a citywide cap of 3,000 scooters that companies like Bird and Lime may operate. Companies would be allowed to add 2,500 more scooters if they operate in disadvantaged communities and 5,000 more for disadvantaged communities in the San Fernando Valley.

But these caps could change. The council asked for the Department of Transportation to report back on the optimum number of vehicles to allow the best service without overcrowding.

The new regulations also include a 15 mph speed limit and a requirement that all operators carry $5 million in commercial general liability insurance.

Companies would also be required to work with local council offices on "geo-fencing" their scooters, if requested, to prevent parking in specific areas.

The pilot program applies to all operators of dockless or electric bicycles and motorized or electric scooters, with a 120-day exception for dockless bike share programs in Council Districts 15 and 4. There is no cap on the number of companies that may apply.

The vote followed a key decision made by the city of Santa Monica last week to include Bird and Lime in the city's pilot program for dockless scooters and bikes. Lyft and the Uber-owned Jump were also selected to participate in the 16-month study. A similar program is also underway in Long Beach.

As scooters have spread on city streets, there's been a backlash, with many residents and business owners citing unsafe riding and irresponsible parking. One attempt to ban them in L.A. failed, but the cities of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood voted for bans of their own.

Brian Frank contributed to this report.

Updated 2:58 p.m. with results of the vote and description of the adopted rules.