Brace yourself for the wave of scooters hitting the streets in Chicago this summer.
City officials have announced the new fleet of e-scooters coming to Chicago for the summer will be available starting on Wednesday, August 12. Bird, Lime and Spin, the three vendors chosen through an application process earlier in June, will be allowed to distribute 3,333 scooters each throughout most of Chicago. The Lakefront Trail, the 606 and the Central Business District in the Loop will be excluded from the citywide initiative.
Earlier in June, Chicago officials announced their plans to allow 3 companies to dispatch over 10,000 electric scooters around the city in its second pilot program.
The city’s pilot program launched from June 15 to October 15 last year. Through the program, 10 companies were provided permits to rent and dispatch scooters around the city to test the “viability of scooters as a mobility option and was designed to maximize safety and minimize sidewalk clutter,” according to the government website.
Their report showed mixed results, with companies falling short in providing equitable access between well-off and underserved communities. Demographically speaking, the number showed that the scooters were used more frequently by “white, higher income participants”. In regards to safety, their numbers were more or less inconclusive. Of the 407,296 trips taken on scooters in the trial period — that weren’t mere test laps — there were only “192 probable Emergency Department visits…due to e-scooters.”
In conclusion, the report read:
“The e-scooter pilot showed promise that e-scooters could aid in filling transportation gaps by providing another alternative to cars for getting around the neighborhoods. However, the pilot also revealed some of the challenges…the jury is still out on whether e-scooters connect riders to public transit or replace private car or ride-hailing trips. More work also needs to be done to lower the environmental impact of the short life cycle of e-scooters and business operations and to increase companies’ rates of compliance with the City’s equitable rebalancing requirements.”
The companies that participated in last year’s pilot phase will be allowed to apply for the second phase, those include Lime, Spin, Bird, Jump, Bolt, Wheels, Sherpa, gruv, Lyft, and VeoRide.
In order to correct for last year’s shortcomings, the city is seeking to create more equitable access by having each company make half of their fleets of scooters available in the South and West Side of the city.
To reduce sidewalk clutter, companies must equip their scooters with mechanisms that would allow for the scooters to be locked to poles, racks, or otherwise — in other words, companies must provide incentive for users to not drop their scooters in the middle of the sidewalk.
This year, e-scooters will not be allowed downtown, on the 606 or Lakefront trails. They are also prohibited from the central business district.
In light of the pandemic, companies must disinfect scooters as often as their staff comes into contact with them. Furthermore, riders are strongly encouraged to wear gloves, and/or wash their hands after using the product. Helmets are not required.
The scooter companies will determine what the prices will be this summer.
See also: 10 Weekend Getaways Outside Chicago
[Photo via Shutterstock]