Tony Evers signs bill allowing electric scooters in Wisconsin

Kirby Bridges, left, and Megan Garlington show off the Bird scooters they were taking for an afternoon ride last year in Milwaukee before the company agreed to remove them from the city pending the creation of a state regulatory framework. 

Gov. Tony Evers signed a bill Monday regulating 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 can prohibit use on sidewalks or streets with speed limits above 25 mph and restrict public rentals.

The law also exempts scooters from state vehicle registration requirements, though scooters must comply with lighting and braking requirements and scooter drivers must follow road rules.

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

Under the new state law, privately owned electric scooters are now allowed in Madison.

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But rental scooters are still banned under a city ordinance approved last year that prohibits their use before a pilot program has been conducted. It’s been the city’s intention to ban the scooters unless the pilot study can demonstrate their usefulness, effectiveness and safe operation.

Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and five City Council members introduced a resolution in mid-May authorizing the city Department of Transportation to do a pilot study once the state law passed.

But city officials put off consideration of the study because there was no practical way to conduct a meaningful pilot program before the onset of cold weather, according to city officials. In coming months, the city plans to review data and safety considerations, evaluate the experience of other cities and then tweak the resolution and possibly proceed with a pilot program next spring.

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.

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