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Scooters Are Back Starting Wednesday — And This Time, They’ll Be (Almost) Everywhere

Scooters will be available 5 a.m.-10 p.m. daily.

Electric scooters could hit downtown streets in the spring if a proposal passes in the City Council Thursday.
Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development at DePaul University.
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CHICAGO — The city’s second e-scooter pilot begins Wednesday.

The pilot will be much larger and more expansive than the one held in 2019, with about 10,000 scooters spread throughout Chicago. It’ll last four months.

Scooters will be rideable 5 a.m.-10 p.m. daily, though the vendors for this pilot — Bird, Lime and Spin — are allowed to leave them out overnight this time, according to the Mayor’s Office.

And while last year’s pilot saw the e-scooters confined to certain neighborhoods, they’ll now be distributed throughout the city and allowed everywhere but on the 606, the Lakefront Trail and Downtown.

Vendors will have to send half their scooters to “priority areas” on the South and West sides at 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. to ensure they’re distributed equitably, according to the Department of Transportation.

Riders can only go up to 15 mph, are not allowed to ride on sidewalks and are encouraged to wear helmets, according to the Mayor’s Office.

Scooters will also need to have lock-technology, meaning riders will have to lock them to a bike rack or other object to end their trip.

And vendors will have to require new riders to take an in-app safety quiz and other education, will have to host educational events and will have to host helmet giveaways, the city said.

More information about this year’s pilot is available online.

The city’s first pilot for scooters in 2019 ended with “mixed results,” which is why officials opted for a second one.

Survey results and data from 2019’s scooter pilot showed more than 820,000 rides were taken during the four-month pilot.

But Chicagoans were divided over the scooters, with some saying they were a hazard or nuisance while other said they provided a more environmentally-friendly and convenient way of traveling small distances.

A map of scooter boundaries for this pilot:

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