A Bird scooter sits parked on a street corner in San Francisco. Dockless scooters have become very popular across the U.S., but many people say they're a nuisance. A Bird scooter sits parked on a street corner in San Francisco. Dockless scooters have become very popular across the U.S., but many people say they're a nuisance. Over the past year, dockless electric scooters have descended on city sidewalks almost as if they fell from the sky.
You don't need me to tell you about the Micro scooter: it is part of the holy trinity of child-rearing, along with the Bugaboo (a large, outrageously comfort-driven baby buggy) and the Trunki (a wheeled suitcase with a charmful animal personality). They didn't have them in our day, and people without children express through their disapproval all their hatred of modern parenting. My friend bought his nephew an own-brand supermarket version of the Micro and his brother picked it up and put it in the bin. The adult version was an inevitability, and I have always scorned it as wilful infantilism, like taking up dummies or nappies because they look fun when your kid has them. But the EMicro One is a scooter with a motor, and a different beast; when you reach 5km an hour, the electric motor kicks in, then you are in a truly new transport space, somewhere between a three-year-old and a person with a mobility buggy.
But some city commissioners are now reconsidering the ban. Instead, they've proposed new rules that would require rental shops to equip motorized scooters, mopeds and motorized bicycles with GPS tracking devices and set up a 24/7 hotline for police and code compliance officers to report misbehaving scooter drivers. Scooter shops would have to show their phone number on the vehicles, which are already required to display the name of the rental shop and an ID number.
City officials say state law makes the scooters illegal. But the Milwaukee Common Council did not ban the scooters with the ordinance given approval Tuesday. Instead, the Journal Sentinel reports the measure would allow the city to impound scooters when they're parked on sidewalks and Bird Rides Inc. would need to pay $100 to recover them. Riders would not be fined.