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Rise in electric scooters in Milwaukee could result in accidents, tampering

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MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58)-- Bird and Spin scooters hit the streets of Milwaukee this week, bumping the total number of scooters allowed in the city to 1,050.

The city’s Public Works Department says these scooter companies are now taking aggressive steps to make sure the rules of the road are being followed.

A Spin scooter spokesperson says they may be in competition with Lime and Bird scooters, but ultimately they’re trying to keep these scooters in the city for good, which is why they’re working together to implement aggressive safety measures.

Before getting on a scooter, riders get a message and must agree to stay off the sidewalk.

Spin says scooters are also being placed near bike lanes as a reminder to riders. If you’re caught on the sidewalk, you may get stopped by a member of Spin’s “operations team.”

”The operations team, they’re out right now in the van, and they just patrol the city. So if they see anybody on any brand of scooter and are on the sidewalk, they’ll pull over and say ‘hey, just so you know, they’re not allowed on the sidewalk,’” said Ben Kubik, Market Launcher.  

With more than a thousand scooters out on the streets now, drivers are more prone to seeing them on the road. Earlier this month, a scooter rider in Denver, Colorado died after he was hit by a car, worrying scooter riders in Milwaukee.

”I think this could lead to more deaths if people aren’t responsible enough,” said Collin Sathe, an electric scooter rider.

”Just like bikers, these scooters are in the street, they’re using a bike lane, like you just got to be more cautious as a driver too,” said rider Ramon Rivera.

”A lot of that is just going to happen as we have more and more traffic on the streets,” said Kubik.  “I hope that you know people can be educated enough to ride scooters properly.”

Experienced riders say be aware of your surroundings.

”Just making sure you’re staying aware of everything around you, that’s the biggest thing,” said rider, Ernest Sesselmann. “I mean you got to know where you’re at, and then understand where traffic is coming from.”

A law firm in Santa Monica, California reported sightings of brake lines being cut off of electric scooters, increasing the risk of brake failure.

Milwaukee riders say they have already seen scooters being tampered with.

”I’ve seen some damage done to scooters, like I’ve seen people try and take tires off of them,” adds Rivera.

Kubik says if you suspect a scooter has been tampered with, report it to customer service so the scooter can be disabled.

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