Jeramey Jannene
City Hall

Police Issue First Ticket for Scooter Crash

Pedestrian on sidewalk struck by Bird scooter operator on N. Downer Ave.

By - Jul 23rd, 2018 03:42 pm
Three of Bird's scooters were parking on N. Milwaukee St. on the morning of July 9th, 2018. Photo by Dave Reid.

Three of Bird’s scooters were parking on N. Milwaukee St. on the morning of July 9th, 2018. Photo by Dave Reid.

While the debate over motorized scooters plays out inside City Hall and the federal courthouse, one unlucky pedestrian on an east side sidewalk was knocked to the ground after a collision with a scooter Saturday. The crash caused the Milwaukee Police Department to issue its first citation to an electric scooter user for violation of a state law that governs the use of motorized vehicles.

According to a Milwaukee Police Department report, a 48-year-old male was struck by a Bird motorized scooter operated by 23-year-old Ryan Thies. The victim “reported pain to his face from being knocked to the ground.” The report indicates he was treated on site by the Milwaukee Fire Department.

The 23-year-old operator was given a $98.80 fine, but the city did not impound the scooter. The incident occurred on the sidewalk at 2639 N. Downer Ave. near the Nehring’s Sendik’s grocery.

The dockless electric scooters have been a source of local controversy since California-based Bird Rides dropped them off on the opening day of Summerfest. The independent City Attorney’s office rendered a legal opinion that the scooters are in violation of state law governing motor vehicles and therefore illegal to operate on Milwaukee streets or sidewalks.

Bird reports people have taken thousands of rides on its scooters in Milwaukee, and the company has increased the number of scooters available. The scooters, which can be unlocked by a smartphone application, cost $1 per ride and 15 cents per minute.

Last week Wednesday, the Common Council’s Public Works Committee gave initial approval to two ordinances regarding the scooters. One would allow the city to impound the scooters if they’re found parked on public streets or sidewalks following a decision from the independent City Attorney’s office that Bird’s scooters are in violation of state law. The second would create a legal framework for the dockless scooter companies to operate in Milwaukee, should the state legalize them first.

The Downer Avenue incident isn’t the first such collision. A pregnant woman reported being the victim of a hit-and-run on a Lower East Side sidewalk by a scooter operator and appeared at the Public Works Committee meeting on the scooters.

The full Common Council will consider the matter on July 31st, and if approved, it will be sent to Mayor Tom Barrett for his signature. The measure could go into effect in early August.

The Wisconsin State Legislature isn’t scheduled to be back in session until January 2019.

If you think stories like this are important, become a member of Urban Milwaukee and help support real independent journalism. Plus you get some cool added benefits, all detailed here.

6 thoughts on “City Hall: Police Issue First Ticket for Scooter Crash”

  1. Troll says:

    Bikes own the sidewalks downtown. Bike Carrie’s violate almost all bike laws on the streets. The site of a small child clinging to a man on a bird in the street did worry me. The Bublr is government approved so it must make Hitler, I mean Bob bauman happy.

  2. Comfy Chair says:


    Is your spell check turned off?

    I’m not sure what you are trying to say. What is a “Bike Carrie?” Did yo mean “sight,” instead of “site?” And I think Alderman “bauman” capitalizes his last name, that is to say, “Bauman.”

  3. Q says:

    Vilify the City for trying to remove Bird Scooters

    Bird Scooter Crash

    Sue City for not removing scooters fast enough

    City raise taxes for lost settlement and resources used in law suite

    Vilify city for raising taxes

  4. Lee says:

    Bikes and scooters should not be on sidewalks unless they are going to stores on that block. The amount of riders of either disobeying the current laws amaze me.

    Have fun, be responsible or don’t ride, period.

  5. Mike packer says:

    I like the scooter. Mike Parker

  6. Johnny football says:

    Long live the scooters! Don’t let bob Bauman spoil an opportunity

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us