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Lime scooters to be joined by Bird, Spin

Posted at 2:55 PM, Aug 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-11 15:55:43-04

By next week, two more electric scooter companies will be filling the streets of Milwaukee. The city made the announcement Saturday, just one week after the mayor put a hold on the pilot study after receiving several complaints about users riding on the sidewalks.

The Department of Public Works will approve applications for scooters from Bird and Spin as soon as Monday.

Right now, there are 500 electric scooters from Lime in the city, and once the other companies arrive there will be a total of 1,000. Each company will be allowed 350 scooters, so Lime will have to reduce its current fleet. They'll be spread out over three zones with the majority in the downtown area.

However, the question remains, will there continue to be problems?

"They have to tell their customers that under the laws of the City of Milwaukee that they are not permitted to ride the scooters on the sidewalks," Mayor Tom Barrett said. "This will allow us to see how good a job the other companies do to monitor their customers."

DPW says it's seen improvement. Over the span of eight hours of watching people riding scooters near downtown, its workers saw 83% were riding on the streets.

But, Saturday afternoon TODAY'S TMJ4 watched as several users continued to break the rules.

Milwaukee resident Jim Loving is seriously concerned about the potential consequences of expanding the program.

"Somebody's going to get killed," Loving said.

While he agrees that users shouldn't ride on the sidewalks, he also feels streets are getting narrower, especially by The Hop.

"I don't want to take it away from a lot of the kids that love that stuff, but do it right, do it safe. I'm terrified of what's going to happen," Loving said.

Sean Miller, another Milwaukee resident, has similar reservations.

"If people can use it responsibly it will be a good transportation option, you know in these nicer months, but I think that there are enough people who just don't care and they're going to do what they want to do," Miller said.

It's why he wants to send this message to riders:

"Don't mess this up everyone. Everyone don't do it," Miller said.

Barrett emphasizes that he wants to make this work because they've already recognized the demand. So far people have taken more than 53,000 trips on scooters in the city.

The program is a pilot that goes until the end of the year, but if problems continue, the scooters can be taken away in no time.