Milwaukee launches 3rd electric scooter pilot program

Electric scooters are back and ready for another ride in Milwaukee. A pilot program will allow people to ride them until the end of 2023.

In 2021, a big complaint was riders parking scooters in the middle of sidewalks. The city will now offer parking spaces for the e-scooters as part of the pilot.

"I do see it becoming permanent," said Mayor Cavalier Johnson.

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The relaunch of e-scooters on Friday, Sept. 2 came just in time for some riders – like Robert Gregg of Kenosha.

"My wife is actually getting her hair done over at Dolled Up, so I figured I'd pass the time and ride some scooters," he said.

The scooter pilot study now underway is Milwaukee's third. This time, the study includes Spin and Lime along with newcomer Veo. Each will be allowed to have up to 600 scooters throughout the city as summer comes to a close.

"Folks will still ride. We still have some summer left. Fall is still a great time to ride scooters," Johnson said.

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Scooters are still not allowed on city sidewalks to keep pedestrians safe. The three companies that make the scooters say they offer built-in technology that detects sidewalk use and warns the rider to get back on the street.

"It will slow you down on the sidewalk automatically when it detects the sidewalk," explained Michael Beck, Spin's Great Lakes Region general manager.

Spin said it can fine and ban riders if sidewalk use continues. FOX6 News asked the city why so many pilot programs? The first was in 2019, followed by a second in 2021.

"This is a totally new thing for the city. We don’t have any comparable licenses or other things that are similar," said Kate Riordan with the Milwaukee Department of Public Works' multimodal unit.

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The DPW said the city makes 25 cents off each ride; the 2021 pilot program saw 481,706 rides.

The latest pilot program will end Dec. 31, 2023. Helmets for riders are not required or provided, but are encouraged.