LAPD cracking down on illegal electric scooter flash mobs taking over city streets

The Los Angeles Police Department is cracking down on electric scooter riding flash mobs who take over city streets and post their activities to social media.

Over the past several months, numerous videos have been posted to social media showing LAPD using cruisers and helicopters to pursue hundreds of electric scooter riders through the streets of downtown LA, and the department says enough is enough.

“These people need to find something better to do,” said Sgt. Jesse Garcia with LAPD’s Central Traffic Division. “It’s just very reckless behavior and we have zero tolerance for it in the city of Los Angeles.”The scooter flash mobs begin on social media posts where word is spread on when and where to meet up.

LAPD sees those posts as well, but officers are severely outnumbered when encountering the scooter flash mobs. 

“They take over portions of the roadway or intersections and they do anything imaginable on these scooters,” Garcia said. “They ride on the wrong side of the road, on the sidewalks, nearly hitting pedestrians, some of these individuals fall of their scooters, you name it, it happens.”

LAPD will catch and detain some of the scooter riders along the way and issue citations to send a message.

FOX 11 followed one of the flash mobs in October and observed some scooter riders being detained and handcuffed before they were released with a ticket.

“Scooter operators are required to obey the rules of the road no differently than a vehicle,” Garcia said. 

Garcia told FOX 11 that LAPD is working with the scooter company vendors to put a stop to the flash mobs, which includes using geofencing, which can create a virtual perimeter in the city where the scooters will shut off if they enter an area after a certain time. 

“There are other technological means we are using as well,” Garcia said.

Videos posted to social media show the scooter riders taking over streets in Skid Row, even getting onto city highways and tunnels, all of which require a police response.

“It does take up a significant amount of police resources that yes, could be used in other ways,” Garcia said. 

Garcia says the illegal gatherings are similar to the side show vehicles they often have to break up, and that if the scooters are responsible for bodily injury to anybody, the rider can be looking at serious charges.

“Just don’t do it, it’s not worth it,” Garcia said. “We will enforce the law.”