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Battle of the Birds!

Posted by John Hathorn on July 26, 2018
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Have you noticed the new “Lime” scooters alongside the notorious Birds? Of course you have. They are on nearly every street and corner of the City. The company, LimeBike, dropped the “bike” and is now (also) in the electric scooter transportation business. The competition is yet another hit to Bird’s business after a $300k legal battle over allegations that Bird failed secure a business license among other complaints.

Uber, not to be left out, along with Google, just invested $335 Million in Lime. Uber has plans to add the scooter option to the Uber app soon. I am sure Uber drivers are not thrilled, I’ve spoken to a few who have already noticed a drop-off in ride requests to bike lane-friendly destinations like the Promenade, Washington Blvd and Culver City since the scooters entered the market.

Lyft is working on its own bike and scooter app integration. The goal is for the app to take traffic and bike lanes into consideration to offer riders the best route using a combination of car service, bike and scooter transportation to get to their destination the quickest. Another goal from Lyft- take 1,000,000 cars off the road by the end of 2019!

It makes sense that city traffic and parking headaches combined to make a potent fuel to propel these rideshare and alt-transportation start-ups. Plus, the scooters are kinda fun and nobody can deny the convenience of these services – despite neighborhood complaints.

Recently Bird has sponsored a State Assembly Bill to remove the requirement for electric scooter riders to wear helmets. This modification has already made it through the Transportation and Housing Committee. Bird has argued that most riders are not prepared to wear a helmet as they are using the service for short trips and do not want to be inconvenienced by having to pack the helmet around once they reach their destination. Currently bicyclists are not required to wear helmets, or to have a license, and bikes can travel faster than the scooters which usually top-out around 14mph.

Opponents of the effort to remove the helmet requirement have claimed a rise in accidents similar to the rollerblade boom of the 90s. Safety experts, cite injuries in the last month including one involving a 15-year-old.  It’s unclear how many incidents have been teens vs. adults, how many had a driver’s license and whether the injury rate is any higher than skateboards, bikes, etc. One thing is for sure, Bird and Lime still have a long battle ahead of them to get the safety and nuisance issues ironed out.

In spite of the inherent risks, I am a fan. As a driver, I have to assume the scooters are going to ignore traffic laws – just like so many skaters, pedestrians and cyclists do. Any of these fresh ideas that help alleviate traffic and parking woes are worthy of consideration in my view. If you agree – call me and stop by my office to see one of the safest and coolest scooters money can buy. You could win it in my raffle contest of have it as a gift if you buy or sell a property with me. Come stop by my office to check it out!

In Real Estate News…

Two listings- one of which is already sold!

614 10th Street- Listed at $3,095,000. 2 bedrooms, 2 baths and just under 1,400 square feet. This house is little, but nicely updated and has a pool! 7,500 sqft lot (50×150). I expect this with move quickly!

639 16th Street–  Sold for $6,900,000. This new construction by Ken Ungar was sold prior to market. 6 bedrooms, 7 baths within 6,250 sqft on 3-levels. Modern Architectural with a pool.

One property has gone into escrow-

348 25th Street– Listed at $4,198,000. 4 bedrooms, 4 baths and approximately 3,500 sqft. Clean and charming Country English- style home. Some updating. Backyard with pool and bonus room above the garage. Last sold in 2001 for $1,625,000.

Three properties (in addition to the pre-market sale mentioned above) have sold.

614 12th Street– Sold for $3,140,000. Listed for $3.250.000.

745 18th Street– Sold for $3,250,000. Listed for $3,649,000.

2139 Carlyle Avenue– Sold for $4,280,000. Listed for $4,500,000.

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