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Electric Scooter Laws in Milwaukee

By Keith Stachowiak on September 30, 2019 // Leave a Comment

electric lime scooters lined up on the side of the road in Milwaukee with a woman walking up to themDo you know the laws and regulations for electric scooters in Milwaukee? This article can help you understand what is considered legal and illegal when it comes to riding an electric scooter in the city of Milwaukee. Learn why the scooters are populating the city, what the e-scooter laws are that you should follow, and what to do if you are injured while riding an electric scooter in Milwaukee.

What are Electric Scooters?

Electric scooters, or also known as e-scooters, motorized scooters, or motor scooters are stand-up riding scooters that are powered by an electric motor. In terms of transportation, it is classified as a form of micro-mobility.

Dockless scooters are a self-service scooter system made available for individuals to use on a short-term basis. Dockless scooters can be rented through a smart-phone app, website, or a prepaid PIN and do not require you to return them to a docking structure at a permanent, fixed location where rides must begin and end. Instead, you can leave the scooter standing up and out of the way of pedestrians or traffic. Areas to assume as no-parking zones include bus stops, driveways, service ramps, loading zones, and the middle of a sidewalk.

Why are Electric Scooters in Milwaukee?

Electric scooters are typically found in cities as a mode of micro-transportation. They have the potential to help the City of Milwaukee improve outcomes relating to giving equal opportunities to access transportation, traffic congestion mitigation, healthy lifestyle initiatives, and providing additional opportunities for transportation for those with limited options.

The initial dockless electric scooters that were distributed throughout the streets of Milwaukee are from the vendor company called “Lime.” Since the introduction, several other companies have joined in. This distribution is under the Milwaukee Department of Public Works’ Dockless Scooter Pilot Study. The pilot program will end on December 31, 2019.

The goals of initiating the Dockless Scooter Pilot Study here in Milwaukee include the following:

  • Increase transportation options
  • Expand access to transit
  • Evaluate impacts on access to the public right of way

Through this program, the reliance on motor vehicles may be lowered, which can ultimately improve traffic congestion and city air quality. These scooters may also help to solve the “first mile / last mile” problem, which can be understood as the gaps between user starting point, public transportation, and the final destination, which often requires additional walking or modes of transportation.

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Laws, Regulations, and Safety Tips For Riding Electric Scooters

It’s important to follow the Milwaukee electric scooter laws and regulations when operating a dockless electric scooter. With the ease of downloading an app, locating the nearest scooter, and driving to their destination, some people do not practice enough consideration of their safety as well as the safety of those around them. To ensure riders are prepared, it is recommended that riders thoroughly read the regulations provided by the vendor’s app, researching laws, or consider taking safety courses.

People who don’t use scooters properly can be ticketed by police. In the unfortunate case that you are injured while operating the electric scooter, it is important to abide by the rules established by the City of Milwaukee and the scooter vendor. If you are properly following the laws and regulations, but still receive an injury, you may be entitled to compensation.

Wisconsin Electric Scooter Laws

Electric scooters are to be treated and used according to current bicycle laws in the State of Wisconsin. If you are unsure of what these are, read through this blog to find out the Rules of the Road for Bicycles: What You May Not Know, But Should.

The following are the electric scooter regulations provided by Milwaukee’s Department of Public Works:

electric scooter placed incorrectly on a sidewalk
  • Helmet use is encouraged while riding a dockless scooter
  • Riding on the sidewalk is prohibited
  • Riding and parking on the Riverwalk is prohibited
  • Users are required to follow all rules of the road
  • Scooters must be parked responsibly

When you arrive at your final destination and need to park the scooter, the law requires that the scooter must be parked at least five feet away from the sidewalk. The goal is to not block the sidewalk and allow for safe walking and running conditions for pedestrians. If someone is violating this rule, they can be subject to a fine of up to $100. More importantly to consider, with an excess amount of individuals violating this rule, the dockless electric scooter pilot program can be revoked.

If you are practicing these guidelines while operating an electric scooter, you will not only keep yourself safe but also keeping those around you safe as well.

Safety Tips For Riding an Electric Scooter

Protect yourself and those around you by following these important safety tips the next time you ride an electric scooter.

  • Wear safety gear. You may not be going very fast, but vehicles around you are typically going much faster - it’s strongly advised to wear a helmet while riding.
  • Do not ride in tandem. Ride solo, as the scooters are not designed to safely transport more than one person at a time.
  • Stay off the sidewalk. This tip especially aids the safety of pedestrians and those around you.
  • Make sure your scooter is working properly. Before you begin, check the tires, battery, and the overall state of the scooter.
  • Use both hands. Unless you are signaling to turn, keep both hands on the handlebars for stability.
  • Do not ride a scooter under the influence. If you are not sober, consider using a rideshare app instead.
  • Always follow the traffic laws. Remember, a “walk” traffic light sign does not mean “go” for someone riding an electric scooter.

Have You Been Injured Riding an Electric Scooter?


The average maximum speed an electric scooter can travel is 15 mph. This may not seem like a fast pace, but this speed can be shockingly dangerous. ER reports across the country have shown an estimated 1,500 e-scooter-related injuries in 2018 alone. E-scooter injuries that result in an emergency room visit are typically very serious and may lead to notable medical bills and time off of missed work.

If you’ve been injured using an electric scooter while showing reasonable care and consideration of your surroundings, you may have a personal injury case. The attorneys at Murphy & Prachthauser know this can be a confusing and difficult time and we’re here to help.

Not sure if you have a case? Why not ask? We offer online free case evaluations and we only get paid if we successfully recover damages for your injuries.

Were You Injured as a Result of a Negligent Scooter Rider?

In Milwaukee and the surrounding areas, there are three different electric scooter companies: Lime-S, Bird, and Spin. For each of these scooter companies, riders must follow the above regulations provided by the city and the safety protocols given by the scooter companies.

You may have a case if you were injured by a scooter rider who was not following the specified rules that must be followed.

Negligent behavior while riding a scooter consists of, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Riding on the sidewalks
  • Riding too fast
  • Riding down a dangerous hill
  • Riding in the wrong direction
  • Riding where pedestrians are walking
  • Not properly using hand-signals for turning
  • Not following traffic lights

If you have been injured in a pedestrian-scooter or a scooter-car accident, you may have a case. It’s crucial you contact a personal injury attorney right away.

Why Choose Murphy & Prachthauser for Your Electric Scooter Case?

At Murphy & Prachthauser we practice personal injury law the way it should be practiced – motivated and equipped to do our best for you. We take pride in being good lawyers who help people.

If you have a case regarding an electric scooter injury or accident that you would like to speak to a lawyer about, please contact us to get a free case evaluation and get an experienced team of lawyers working on your behalf.

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