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Milwaukee City Officials Halt Scooter Pilot Program

Mayor Tom Barrett Expresses Concern For Public Safety

Tom Barrett, Electric Scooters, Milwaukee, Pilot Program
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett holds a press conference at City Hall, announcing the city’s Dockless Scooter Pilot Program is being put on hold. Alana Watson/WPR

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett announced on Friday afternoon that they are putting the city’s Dockless Scooter Pilot Program on hold until they can address issues regarding public safety.

Late last month, electric scooter company Lime won approval for the city’s pilot program and released 500 electric scooters. To take part in the program, scooter companies had to have an operations manager working in the city and scooters that can’t exceed 15 mph.

As a part of the safety guidelines, scooter riders should be encouraged to wear a helmet and they aren’t allowed to ride on sidewalks.

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According to Barrett, the city has received more than 100 complaints from residents saying their ability to walk on the sidewalk is being impeded because of riders.

“The law is clear,” Barret said, “They are motorized vehicles. They need to be in the street.”

Scooters at the Lime Ride Academy
Lime hosted their first Ride Academy, a 60-minute training course that teaches first time riders how to ride scooters safely and appropriately. Alana Watson/WPR

Barrett also said that he doesn’t want scooters weaving in and out of traffic and wants riders to utilize the bike lanes.

Lime officials have requested to be granted permission to bring additional scooters to Milwaukee. Officials with the city Department of Public Works have declined the request and have paused the pilot program for other electric scooter companies until the city can sort out the public safety issue.

Bird and Spin are the other two companies that have entered into the pilot program.

“We are giving this warning to scooter riders,” Barrett said. “Scooters need to be better. We look forward to working with the current company, along with the Common Council, and members of the community to make this situation better.”

Barrett said that this is an educational process and he wants scooters to work in Milwaukee.

A representative with the Department of Public Works said that the San Francisco-based Lime is working with the city to make sure they’re in compliance with the program.

Barrett said the city will reevaluate the program in a few weeks.