Electric Scooters are Rolling Out in Chicago
by Jeffrey J. Kroll
Like it or not, electric scooters are here to stay. One year after Divvy became the first bike-share company to include docked e-scooters, the Chicago Department of Transportation and Lyft, the operator of Divvy, unveiled the next-generation model of scooter, with improved safety features and a more comfortable experience for its riders. With the addition of 500 new scooters added to the fleet this summer, the total number of docked scooters in Chicagoland is approximately 1500 scooters. Divvy scooters accounted for over one million total trips by the end of June 2023. Along with Lime, Spin, and Super Pedestrian, which hold scooter-sharing business licenses in Chicago, there have been over two million scooter trips in the last year. Nationwide, in 2019 alone, 136 million trips were taken on shared bikes and/or scooters.
One concern I have is scooters and the motoring public, as well as pedestrians, peacefully and safely coexisting in city neighborhoods. When you combine cars, bikes, potholes, and a scarcity of bike/scooter designated lanes, this amounts to a recipe for disaster. What are some key rules for citizens operating shared scooters in Chicago? Here are some helpful tips:
- Riders should wear a helmet.
- Scooters should not be operated on sidewalks.
- No more than one person should ride on a scooter at any given time.
- Interestingly enough, a rider’s first trip is limited to 10 mph. After the first trip, no shared scooter will exceed a speed of 15 mph.
- Scooters may be rented between 5 am and midnight.
- Scooter riders should obey all rules of the road; including traffic lights, stop signs, and one-way streets.
- Scooters must yield to pedestrians.
- Finally, scooters cannot be operated on the Lakefront trail, the 606 Bloomingdale trail, or the Chicago Riverwalk.
I alluded to the fact that there are new, improved scooters with additional safety features. For example:
- New dual handbrakes offer riders more control, while turn signals allow riders to share their travel paths without taking their hands off the handlebars.
- The new scooters are custom-built to dock within the custom Divvy station network. This will prevent the clutter of scooters on sidewalks and will enable pedestrians to safely traverse these same sidewalks.
- A larger battery provides an increased range and decreases the number of miles for Divvy technicians by 53%. The new scooters’ carbon footprint is 34% lower than the previous generations.
While scooters can be a handy and environmentally friendly way to move about the city, the injury lawyers at Kaveny + Kroll have seen firsthand some of the sad results of Divvy bicycles and scooters attempts to share a lane with other vehicular traffic. Adding these new scooters to the roadway, a roadway which lacks adequate infrastructure, ensures it will be fraught with countless injuries and potential litigation. If you or a loved one have been injured in a rideshare bike or electric scooter incident, contact the rideshare injury attorneys at Kaveny + Kroll, (312) 761-5585, for a free consultation.