E-scooters are cruising into many cities, is Madison next?

E-scooters are cruising into many cities, is Madison next?
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Electric scooters are becoming a common fixture in many major cities. Could Madison be next? The state Senate is looking at advancing legislation that would make them legal on Wisconsin roads.

The legislation would allow scooters to be driven on Wisconsin roadways. Local municipalities, like Madison, would then pass ordinances to allow businesses like Bird Rides or Lime to rent out scooters. Municipalities would then be able to make specific regulations.

“I think that electric scooters provide a very good form of transportation for a lot different people if they’re done right, if it’s regulated properly,” Jason Ilstrup, the president of Downtown Madison Inc., said.

Ilstrup said that includes safety regulations and limiting the number of scooters allowed into Madison.

“You’re seeing a lot of cities like Austin and Dallas where suddenly there were thousands of scooters in one area and that posed a huge problem,” Ilstrup said.

The electric scooters are accessed by an app. Once the rider is done with them they can leave the scooter anywhere they want. Ilstrup said it will also be important to regulate where a person can dump a scooter after using it.

“I think it’s very important that they only stay in certain zones because if not, they get dumped on the sidewalk, dumped on people’s property. That’s a real issue particularly for people with disabilities,” Ilstrup said.

There are upsides to the scooter invasion, namely transportation. Ilstrup said it could compliment existing transit like the bus system.

“What they really do solve is the first mile and last mile situation, Ilstrup explained. “So many people can get transit pretty close to their house, so they can get a ride close to their house, but sometimes that first and mile is the most difficult. The scooter can help make a difference and bridge that gap.”

The Madison Mayor’s office did not respond to our request for comment. A UW official tells News 3 Now that electric scooters are banned from campus and not viewed favorably because of safety risks, and the fact they can be dropped anywhere.

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