CHICAGO — Expect to see an increase in people getting around on electric scooters in Chicago.
Starting this weekend, a pilot electric scooter sharing program begins.
In an effort to reduce carbon emissions, the city is giving permits to ten different companies and each will be allowed to operate 250 scooters within a 50-square mile test zone west of the downtown area.
The pilot zone is bounded by Halsted Street and the Chicago River on the east, Irving Park Road on the north, the City boundary and Harlem Avenue on the west, and the Chicago River on the south.
One of the many requirements being placed on vendors is balancing the placement of scooters within the test zone. Two priority areas have been designated where 25% of each company's scooters will be placed each morning..
Most of the companies work the same way: Users locate a scooter on an app, pay a dollar to unlock it and then 15-cents a minute thereafter. Scooters will run 15 miles an hour and must be parked legally, upright, wherever bikes can be parked.
Cities across the country have had troubled rollouts of the electric scooters, however. People complained of riders on sidewalks and scooters blocking the right of ways.
There is even an Instagram page dedicated to “Scooters Behaving Badly.”
City officials said that won’t happen in Chicago. Strict guidelines are being put in place to keep the program safe.
The Chicago Department of Transportation said scooters are limited to the bike lanes and need to be walked on sidewalks. Riders must be 18 and obey all traffic laws. Scooters will operate from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily and removed from the public way each night. Any improperly parked scooters must be corrected by the vendor within two hours.
When the pilot ends in October a decision on their long term use in Chicago will be made based on data collected from the 10 vendors.
More information on the city's website at www.chicago.gov/scooters