Evers signs bill regulating electric scooters

Associated Press

July 9, 2019

James Wilson lines up electric scooters on a street corner on June 28 after charging them overnight in Atlanta. “It’s a good little side hustle,” said Wilson who has found greater fortune in charging the scooters than his old job of driving a truck. Supporters of the scooters, which have popped up in cities across the country, say they’re great for short trips, but critics say they’re a nuisance and can be dangerous to their drivers, pedestrians and motorists.

MILWAUKEE  — Gov. Tony Evers has signed a bill to regulate electric scooters on roads and sidewalks.

Under the bipartisan measure, scooters must weigh less than 100 pounds and abide by a 15 mph speed limit. Local governments could prohibit use on sidewalks or streets with speed limits above 25 mph and restrict public rentals.

Evers signed the bill Monday afternoon in Milwaukee. State Ethics Commission records show no groups have registered against the measure.

The city of Milwaukee sued Bird Rides Inc. last year after the company started renting scooters there without a regulatory framework. The city and the company reached a settlement in May that calls for the company to bring the scooters back once regulations are adopted.

“We should be setting the floor, not the ceiling, for local governments in Wisconsin,” Evers said in a statement. “Electric scooters improve access to low-cost transportation options and can serve as a first or last-mile solution to residents and visitors in communities throughout our state. By providing clarity to a rapidly-growing industry, this bill empowers local governments to make the decisions that best fit their area.”

The bipartisan legislation, introduced by Sen. Dale Kooyenga and Rep. Mike Kuglitsch, determines that:

■ 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;

■ 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; and

■ Electric scooters must satisfy the same equipment requirements as Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Devices (EPAMDs), including lighting and brake requirements.