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“It’s technically not banned:” Milwaukee Common Council approves ordinance to impound Bird scooters

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – The Milwaukee Common Council approved an ordinance that would allow the Department of Public Works to impound Bird scooters.

Before the ordinance was approved Tuesday morning, all language directly prohibiting the motorized scooters was removed. In addition, people will not be fined for riding the scooters.

“It’s technically not banned. The word ban was not used, the word prohibited was not used, but they’re still illegal under state statute and as a result the city has the authority to impound them,” Alderman Robert Bauman said.

Bauman said it would cost the company $100 to redeem an impounded scooter. The Common Council also approved a resolution to urge the state legislature to legalize motorized scooters.

Before the meeting, around a dozen Bird scooter supporters met outside of city hall.

“Bird is just a really efficient way to get around,” Menomonee Falls resident Borna Riazi said. “If you don’t have a car or you don’t want to ride your bike and lock it up somewhere you just hop on a Bird.”

A Bird spokesperson released the following statement Tuesday:

"The City of Milwaukee passed an ordinance today giving local law enforcement authority to impound e-scooters being operated as ‘motor vehicles’ based on an interpretation of state law. However, the Federal Government motor vehicle safety regulator NHTSA has affirmatively stated that scooters like those offered by Bird “are not 'motor vehicles.'" [See: https://one.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/import/FAQ%20Site/pages/page3.html#Anchor-59217]. We look forward to continuing our work with the city of Milwaukee and the State of Wisconsin to resolve this matter and provide the people of Wisconsin our clean energy solution for short distance trips.” 

The ordinance now goes to Mayor Barrett for consideration.

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