Electric Scooters Return to Chicago; Second Pilot Launches Aug. 12

The 2020 pilot is the second year of a 2-year Emerging Business Permit, according to a release from CDOT.

Lime Scooters Large
Jodie Fleischer/NBCWashington

A new pilot program for shared electric scooters is set to begin next month in Chicago, according to a release from the City of Chicago’s Department of Transportation.

The program will begin Aug. 12 and bring an additional 10,000 scooters from companies Bird, Lime and Spin, and is much like a similar program that was launched last year involving 10 companies, according to CDOT.

 “We have designed a new pilot program that expands on what we learned during last year’s pilot and will test the viability of scooters as a mobility option across Chicago’s neighborhoods this year,” said CDOT Commissioner Gia Biagi. “Particularly during this public health crisis, it's important that CDOT continues to pilot additional and innovative options for Chicagoans to get around.”

The vendors will be allowed to station the scooters everywhere across the city except for the lakefront, The 606 trail and the central business district, CDOT said.

New this year, all scooters must be equipped with a locking mechanism and riders will be required to lock the scooter to a fixed object when they finish a trip. The new requirement is aimed at reducing clutter on city sidewalks and keeping pathways clear for residents that may be visually impaired or have disabilities, according to CDOT.

Another new element includes extra attention to 43% of the pilot area where “residents face systemic disadvantages following generations of underinvestment and inequitable access to transportation and other resources,” according to the release.

“Chicago is dedicated to testing the viability of innovative mobility options that have the potential to improve transportation access across the City,” said BACP Commissioner Rosa Escareno.

Vendors will be required to station at least 50% of their scooters in those neighborhoods and officials will monitor those areas twice a day to ensure compliance, CDOT said.

The scooters go up to 15 mph and can only be ridden from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, according to the release.

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