A mandated resolution by Milwaukee required Zone 1 “pause” after excess of trips on sidewalks causes safety problems.

Beginning August 3, companies that operate electric scooters in participation of the 2021 City of Milwaukee Pilot Study were prohibited from deploying or allowing new trip starts in Zone 1, which encompasses the downtown, near west side, near south side. and lower east side.

The City of Milwaukee Department of Public Works (DPW) issued a statement saying that it was following the legal requirement, as established by the resolution that allowed the 2021 pilot to exist.

“Further Resolved, That, given public safety concerns related to the operation on scooters on public sidewalks, pilot study participants shall be prohibited from deploying and allowing new trip starts of scooters in Zone 1 if it is determined that more than 10% of their scooter operations in Zone 1 are occurring on public sidewalks as set forth in the Intersection Count Scope of Services;”

Scooter riding on the sidewalk has been prohibited, and users must obey the rules of the road. As sidewalk riding was the most common concern in the 2019 Scooter Pilot, DPW followed the resolution language and hired a consultant to conduct sidewalk riding observations. The consultant monitored 15 intersections with high ridership for 15 total hours in Zone 1 throughout a two-week period in late June to early July.

The results showed that approximately 30% of all trips through those intersections occurred on the sidewalk. The 2021 pilot participants have been required to provide in-app messaging that addresses sidewalk riding, and conduct monthly safety events in areas with high sidewalk riding.

All three operators have also committed to installing sidewalk riding technology on their scooters, and have demonstrated or will soon demonstrate this technology to city staff. With additional education and outreach, combined with the ever evolving technology of the electronic scooters, DPW said it was hopeful for reductions in sidewalk riding.

“DPW continues to fully support greater micro-mobility and multimodal transportation options,” said Commissioner of Public Works Jeff Polenske. “DPW will continue to work with stakeholders, operators, elected officials and the public in hopes of safely resuming new trips and scooter deployment in Zone 1.”

The 2021 pilot runs from May 15 to November 15. Scooter usage has remained popular with over 298,000 rides so far. Approximately 27% of these trips originated in Zone 1 of Milwaukee.

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Lee Matz