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Bird voluntarily removes scooters from Milwaukee

Posted at 11:14 AM, Aug 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-06 18:26:09-04

MILWAUKEE -- Bird is voluntarily removing its scooters from Milwaukee. 

The company announced the move Monday morning as they work to craft new operating framework with the city of Milwaukee.

In a joint news release, Bird and the City expressed their shared goals of creating a community that embraces innovation and includes more transportation options.

Last week, The Milwaukee Common Council approved a proposal which gives city officials the authority to seize electric Bird scooters from public streets and sidewalks. 

The common council also approved a measure for dockless scooters like Bird, though it won’t take effect until the state legislature changes state law for motor vehicles on public streets.

Mayor Tom Barrett on Monday stressed that Bird, and not city officials, removed the scooters from local streets and sidewalks. 

"(Bird) puts the scooters out every day so I think this is a case of them not putting them out," Barrett said. "We did not have to, and I didn't want to, get to the point where the city was taking them off the street." 

Barrett said he is open to Bird returning if state law is changed to legalize the scooters under Wisconsin state statutes. 

Gov. Scott Walker on Monday echoed Barrett's opinion that the legal status of the scooters is something that should be addressed at the state level. 

Walker said he's open to changing state law, but that the state legislature won't be back in session until Jan. 2019. 

"It's something we would address early on in the legislative session," Walker said. 

In the joint statement with the city, Bird's head of Public Affairs and Chief Legal Officer David Estrada said: "Following a few weeks of productive conversations with city officials, our teams are joining forces so that Bird can be an affordable and environmentally friendly transportation option for the people of Milwaukee." 

"We are thankful to have the opportunity to work with Milwaukee City leaders and look forward to bringing Birds back to residents who have already come to enjoy and benefit from this new mode of transportation," Estrada said. 

Barrett said he's hopeful the scooters will eventually return. 

"I'm optimistic we'll be able to work out something so state law will be changed or a clarification will be made that the scooters are allowed," the mayor said.