couple riding on scooters

If E-Scooters Have a Future in the Windy City Safety Concerns Must Be Addressed

2019 was the summer of the scooter. You couldn’t step outside our office in the Loop without risking a run-in with a scooter user racing down the sidewalk, and had to step over abandoned scooters everywhere you walked. It was, therefore, no surprise when research on e-scooter usage nationwide revealed that scooter-related injuries were on the rise

2020 Regulations for E-Scooter Usage

This year, the e-scooters returned to Chicago, but things were a bit different. For 2020, “the City drafted updated rules and minimum requirements based on the results of last year’s pilot and feedback from residents and community organizations… Companies will be allowed to operate citywide… with the exception of the Lakefront Trail, the Central Business District and the Bloomingdale Trail (The 606). Each vendor is limited to no more than 3,333 devices, and vendors will be required to deploy at least 50% of their devices within the Equity Priority Area shown on the map. E-scooters are limited to 15 mph, cannot be ridden on sidewalks, and may only be operated from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. New to the second pilot is a requirement that all e-scooters must be equipped with locks that require riders to lock the device to a fixed object to end their trip. This new requirement aims to reduce dangerous sidewalk clutter and maintain clear pathways for all Chicagoans who depend on unobstructed sidewalks, especially residents with disabilities.”

Halfway through this year’s pilot program, the city released a report on scooter usage. It revealed, “The first two months of the 2020 pilot have seen more total scooter trips than the first two months of the 2019 pilot. However, the 2020 pilot area is four times the size of the 2019 pilot, has four times the population, and has so far seen five times as many devices deployed. Trip length and duration is longer in the first two months of the 2020 pilot than in the 2019 pilot.” 

What the report doesn’t discuss is the number of scooter-related injuries across the city. The report only hints that the e-scooter pilot program may be endangering riders and pedestrians by saying, “The City also hears reports of e-scooters improperly ridden on sidewalks or otherwise being ridden dangerously. The City takes this very seriously and is in constant communication with vendors to help mitigate this issue. Recently, vendors were required to attach a hangtag to devices telling riders that sidewalk riding is not allowed. Two vendors have also committed to rolling out technology trials that can detect sidewalk riding and warn riders to correct their behavior.” 

In an interview in the Chicago Sun Times on the scooter pilot program, Transportation Commissioner Gia Biagi elaborated on this, saying “…we are still getting too many reports of people improperly and unsafely riding scooters on sidewalks. We are working with the three scooter companies to provide additional education to riders about the importance of safe riding practices.”

If You Have Been Injured in an E-Scooter Accident, Contact Us Today

So far, the Stein & Shulman team is not impressed with the efforts to increase rider and pedestrian safety. Too many Chicagoans are suffering severe injuries in e-scooter accidents. We are stepping up to seek justice and compensation for pedestrians, riders, and others in the Chicago area who have been injured in scooter accidents.