For too long, driving was the only respectable way to get around this city. The past decade or so, Angelenos have warmed to walking, biking, transit, and, especially, Uber and Lyft as alternatives. But for some strange reason, scooters still carry more than their fair share of stigma among local commuters. Sunnivie Brydum, a local writer and editor, has “scooted” for the past couple years: “It’s the only way I survive rush hour,” she says. Sunnivie was kind enough to share her advice for others who want off the 101 or the 720.
- Assume no one sees you. It’s hard enough when you’re smaller than a car, but L.A. drivers are distracted like none other. Play defense like you’re a goalie trying to win the Stanley Cup.
- Don’t worry about parking tickets. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but unless you’re at an expired meter or it’s street cleaning day, you’re usually good to drop off your ride anywhere sans repercussions.
- Don’t park behind a car if possible. Always try to park where you’re in front of a parked car, not behind. Folks won’t look before they slam in reverse, so force them to see you.
- Embrace the tousle. You have to wear a helmet and your hair will be affected. Unless you’re headed to the Grammys, just accept it.
- No earrings or headphones. They hurt with a helmet! And you will need all your senses, so save that podcast for your road trip to Vegas.
- Never scoot under the influence. Driving, smoking, whatever—don’t do it. On a scooter, you’re exposed to dangers in a way you’re not in a car. Respond appropriately.
- Rush hour no longer exists. You no longer have to calculate an extra hour to get across town after work, because…
- Splitting lanes is a cinch. If you’re stuck on Olympic or Highland, just do it (it’s mostly legal). The first time may give you a little jolt, but then it’ll be second-nature.
- If a driver pulls over to give you space, acknowledge it. When someone takes extra special care to give you room, a wave or peace sign is obligatory. Don’t be a monster.
- Early in the morning and late at night is still awesome. Though a scooter is a great way to avoid traffic, riding in a full lane—when congestion is light—is pretty incredible, too. “Keep the motor runnin’, head out on the highway…” (except remember, you can’t go on the highway).
- Sunset Boulevard. This winding, beautiful byway is the best scooter route in the city. From the ocean to Silver Lake in a snap!
Check out the DMV page on scooters for info on licensing and registration.