Electric scooters have been stirring up controversy throughout the country for about a year or two and now, they have come to Milwaukee. It was in early July when Governor Tony Evers signed a bill allowing electric scooters to operate on state roads. The bill argued electric scooters would give the people of Milwaukee more options for transportation. Critics of the law though, as one does not have to look far to see the damage they can cause.
“Look at what has happened in Austin, where a 21-year-old died in an electric scooter accident,” says Ronald F. Wittmeyer, Jr., of the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. “Or the YouTube star, Emily Hartirdge, that died while on an electric scooter in London. These pose so many risks to the people of Milwaukee, and it is questionable why the state has allowed them.”
That they do though, at least for the time being. The pilot program, run under the City of Milwaukee’s Department of Public Works, will continue throughout the rest of the year until December 31. To participate in the program, electric scooter companies must have an operations manager working in the city. They also have to ensure their scooters cannot operate at speeds over 15 miles per hour.
Milwaukee’s program does seem to be safer than others. For example, riders here must wear a helmet at all times. The companies must also provide them with a pamphlet on rider safety. This veers from the norm, as typically providers are not required to provide any safety precautions. California also just enacted a bill that removes the requirement for riders to wear helmets.
The biggest problem with these scooters though, is operator inexperience. Riding a scooter is not like riding a bike, and certainly not like operating a car. They are very different, and there is a clear learning curve that comes with them. Riders are not typically aware of this and hop on, thinking it will be an easy ride. Tragically, many find out it is anything but that. Lime, the San Francisco-based scooter company, has also set up first ride academies to teach new riders how to operate these vehicles safely, which could help protect those in Milwaukee.