Scattered Scooters, Clutter On Sidewalks: City Council Wants Safer Measures Implemented For Next Pending Scooter Pilot Phase

Craig Dellimore
February 27, 2020 - 10:09 am

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Chicago Aldermen seem to be leaning in favor of another tryout of electronic scooters on the city streets, but they have some serious concerns.

The hearing on last summer's pilot project highlighted issues that angered residents and alderman alike, such as scattered scooters, riding on sidewalks and reckless riding.

Ald. Brendan Reilly, whose ward cover downtown that was not part of the pilot area, said too many people rode scooters on sidewalk, which is prohibited. He said the city needs to adequately talk to companies about this issue.

"If we are going to have a city policy saying you can't do these on sidwalks we should make it phyiscally impossible for that to happen," Reilly said.

Gia Biagi, the commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation, said she is not sure scooter companies can meet that need but said it's worth investigating. If technology can help the companies make safer decisions to have cooters not work on the sidewalks, then it would be an important safety measure, she said.

"If technology can help us there, we absolutely want to do that," Giagi said.

The pilot program saw some 2500 e-scooters from 10 companies during the four-month period between June and October. Few serious injuries were reported, but reckless and unknowledge scooter rules led to lots of scattered scooters around the Northwest Side.

First Ward Ald. Daniel La Spata, whose ward covers Logan Square, Wicker Park and parts of Humboldt Park and West Town, said scooters were scattered anywhere when rental time ran out.

"We did see a lot of scooters that were sometimes blocking the public way, which were keeping a lot of our seniors and regular residents from feeling like they could get around safely," La Spata said.

As the city considers Phase 2 of the pilot program, officials say a possible solution is requiring scooters be locked to a dock of some kind after use, similar to Divvy stations.