Remember those fancy Bird electric scooters that appeared all over Milwaukee? Then the city of Milwaukee told the company that these vehicles are illegal under state law and sued the company to remove them from the streets of the city. Well, it looks like the city and Bird have settled the lawsuit.
In a recent Biztimes article, they reported that legislation (Assembly Bill 159 and Senate Bill 152) was introduced in the state Legislature that would allow the scooters to operate legally in the city.
The city of Milwaukee supported the Assembly bill which reads:
"This bill authorizes the use of electric scooters on highways. Under the bill, an electric scooter is defined as “a device weighing less than 100 pounds that has handlebars and an electric motor, is powered solely by the electric motor and human power, and has a maximum speed of not more than 20 miles per hour on a paved level surface when powered solely by the electric motor.”
The bill provides that “electric scooter” does not include an electric personal assistive mobility device (EPAMD), motorcycle, motor bicycle, or moped. The bill authorizes electric scooters to be used on certain highways subject to the same requirements as apply under current law to EPAMDs.
More specifically, this bill provides the following:
- Electric scooters are exempt from vehicle registration by the Department of Transportation.
- Operators of electric scooters must observe many of the rules of the road. Operators who violate the applicable rules of the road are subject to the same penalties as those that apply to violations committed while operating an EPAMD.
- Electric scooters may be operated on most roadways, sidewalks, bicycle lanes, and bicycle ways. However, a local highway authority may by ordinance regulate the rental and operation of electric scooters.
- Electric scooters must satisfy the same equipment requirements as
EPAMDs, including lighting and brake requirements.
For further information see the state and local fiscal estimate, which will be printed as an appendix to this bill."
Apparently, Milwaukee DPW has everything ready to launch a pilot program for the scooters once the law is passed.