'We are having some problems:' Milwaukee puts e-scooter pilot program on hold due to safety concerns
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee is putting a pilot program for e-scooters on hold after safety concerns.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says there have been too many cases of people riding scooters on sidewalks when they should be using bike lanes.
The announcement comes just ten days after the scooters hit the streets.
Mayor Barrett says there have been 25,000 rides since July 23, but a lot of people are putting pedestrians' safety at risk by riding on the sidewalks. He says the city has gotten more than 100 complaints so far.
"We want to make this work, but it's not going to work if we don't have compliance with the law," Mayor Barrett said Friday. "We want this to be safe, so we're asking motorists to be careful as well. We're asking the scooter riders to be careful."
The mayor added scooters should not be riding in traffic on the street. Right now, the company that operates the service, Lime, has hundreds of scooters in Milwaukee, and the city denied its request for more.
The city says it will not let other scooter companies join the pilot program until safety issues are fixed.
Spin, another scooter company that applied to participate in Milwaukee's pilot program, released the following statement after Mayor Barrett's news conference Friday:
"We are incredibly surprised and disappointed this decision was made by the Department of Public Works. Throughout this process, we have worked closely with the city to address their concerns. The city informed us that our application was complete, we even met with city officials on Tuesday to prepare for deployment next week and have invested extensive resources to support safe operations in Milwaukee. Regardless of the city’s rationale for this unexpected announcement, we find it odd that the city has allowed the existing company to continue operating in an exclusive arrangement. We hope to continue this conversation with the city and look forward to developing a solution that allows additional vendors into the market."
Mayor Barrett says riders should start obeying the law now, or they'll pull the Lime scooters in a few weeks.
People who ride in the bike line are hoping the city gives others a chance to adjust.
"I'm sure we can, in Milwaukee, find a way to have the scooters thrive here just as much as many other big cities have enjoyed them," said rider Diane Rolfs.