By Benjamin Yount for The Center Square
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says he expects hundreds of scooters to soon be on the streets of his city after Gov. Tony Evers signed a new state law that legalizes scooters from companies like Lime or Bird.
Milwaukee’s Common Council on Tuesday approved the pilot program, and a local set of rule for the scooters. The city regulations require scooter drivers to stay on the street, but they can essentially go wherever bicyclists can go. Any electric scooter company can take part in Milwaukee’s pilot program.
“The pilot program we have here could range anywhere from 350 to 700,” the mayor said.
The new rules come after Bird suddenly left scooters in downtown Milwaukee last summer. Barrett at the time wasn’t happy with what he called the “Bird droppings.”
He’s changed his tune.
“There will be all sorts of droppings,” Barrett said with a laugh Monday. “But the key is that they will be picked up at the end of the day so they don’t receive fines for leaving them.”
There are some Milwaukee aldermen who aren’t so sure about hundreds of scooters zipping through the city.
“Nobody’s talked about helmets, nobody’s talked about alcohol, nobody’s talked about anything,” Alderman Mark Borkowski said Tuesday. “Quite frankly, it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when we’re going to be liable as a city.”
Donovan also said he’s waiting to hear from Milwaukee Police about what they think.
Electric scooters were illegal in Wisconsin because they didn’t have a license plate.
Evers said the new law will give more people more transportation options. He said that’s a good thing.
“Electric scooters improve access to low-cost transportation options and can serve as a first or last-mile solution to residents and visitors in communities throughout our state,” Evers said in a statement.
The state law allows local communities to decide their own scooter rules.
So far, Madison is the only other city in the state that is making moves toward welcoming them.
Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway says she wants to study how the scooters will fit her city.
Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois and Wisconsin statewide issues for The Center Square. Reposted with permission.