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Electric Scooters in Santa Monica

Published on October 24, 2018

If you’ve been to Santa Monica recently, you have seen dozens of people zooming along the streets riding small electric scooters. These two-wheeled, rentable transportation devices have become extremely popular in a very short period of time, with estimates of over 2,000 already being on the streets. With enthusiasm being seen from both locals and tourists, the City anticipates dock-less scooters to quickly become part of the transportation system serving the west side.

How do the scooters work? There are several operators with electric scooters to rent, including Bird, Lime, and Jump. First, you must download the app on your smart phone that connects with the scooter. You’ll be prompted to set up your profile and payment at this time. (Pro-tip: grab a promo code from one of your friends that already has the app – you’ll get your first ride free and they’ll get a nice discount on their next one.) Activate the scooter for use by “locking” it with your phone – each scooter has a unique QR code on the handlebar. Once locked, the scooter is ready for use. The app should give detailed instructions on how to begin your ride. Have fun and be careful! Once you’ve reached your destination and found a safe place to park, simply put down the kickstand, scan the QR code again in the app to “unlock” the scooter from your ride, and be on your way.

How fast to the electric scooters go? Some of the scooters are able to reach a top speed of 15 miles per hour, which is relatively quick when compared to walking, biking, or even driving in some traffic situations. Whether using these scooters for your morning commute to work or to see the city on your vacation in Santa Monica, safety is always a top priority. With this in mind, the City of Santa Monica and Santa Monica Police Department have helped put together a set of rules for electric scooters to keep everyone safe.

7 Electric Scooter Safety Rules

These rules are simple, and easy to follow, while not distracting from any of the fun!

  1. You Must Have a Valid Driver’s License
  2. Helmets are Required
  3. One Person Per Scooter
  4. You Must Ride in the Road. Sidewalks, Promenade, Beach Bike Paths, and Parks are Prohibited.
  5. Follow Traffic Laws. This Includes Stop Signs & Traffic Lights.
  6. Scooters Cannot Be Parked in the Way of Pedestrian Traffic
  7. Unless equipped with proper lighting (front source visible from all sides, and reflectors), riding at night is prohibited.


In order to enforce these rules, the SMPD can issue citations for failing to comply with these electric scooter rules. Thankfully, they have a great sense of humor about it, and have put together this helpful – and funny video to help explain these rules.

SMPD Scooter Rules: Click Here

In 2016, Santa Monica residents rated traffic and congestion as one of their top concerns. The newly opened Metro Expo Line created an alternative for commuters coming into Downtown Santa Monica, but getting around can still be daunting on busy afternoons.  The “breeze bike” program was funded to provide bicycles for rent at over a dozen locations around Santa Monica, similar to other major cities. In 2018, tech start-up Bird launched a small fleet of electric, “dock-less” scooters. Smaller and more nimble than the bicycles, the scooters can be located on a free mobile app and rented for as little as $1.00. After the rider completes their journey, the scooter can be left for the next rider.

Soon after this initial run, several other operators, including silicon valley darlings Lyft, moved into the market with other dock-less mobility devices. They all operate much the same way with a low fee to use and location via mobile app. Now Bird, Jump, Lime and other scooters can be found in cities across the country.

See More of Santa Monica

Santa Monica has so much to offer, and with the ability to jump on an electric scooter to get you from one place to the next quickly, you can see more of the city faster than ever! Enjoy the ocean views, while having the ability to escape the crowds to find some quieter streets where you can just enjoy the ride. If you haven’t been to Santa Monica since the scooter craze began, now is a great time to come visit again!