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Scooters Are Coming Back To Chicago, But They Won’t Be Allowed On The 606 Trail

LOGAN SQUARE — The city is bringing back electric scooters when the weather warms up, but Chicagoans will be prohibited from using the devices on The 606’s Bloomingdale Trail and other popular walking and biking paths.

A total of 3,000 scooters from three different companies will hit Chicago streets in the spring, city officials announced Friday morning.

The announcement comes after two, four-month-long pilot programs in 2019 and 2020, in which several scooter companies vied for a contract with the city.

Under this official launch, Chicagoans will be able to use scooters on all city streets, but not on The Bloomingdale Trail, the lakefront trail and the Riverwalk — trails that are crowded in warm months. Scooters will also be banned in the O’Hare Airport area, the city said.

If all goes well and the companies meet the city’s safety requirements, more scooters could be deployed after the initial launch, according to city officials. The city’s scooter sharing ordinance, which passed in October of 2021, allows for 12,500 scooters citywide.

After the pilot program, some alderpeople pushed back against an official scooter launch, saying the devices are unsafe and lead to too many angry calls to their ward offices. Opponents overwhelmingly said scooters need to stay off the sidewalks.

In response, the city is requiring the scooter companies selected for the official launch to use technology that slows scooters to a halt if used on sidewalks.

As of October 2021, the city said it expected the scooter licenses to bring in $4.5 million in upfront revenue. Tax revenue would also flow into city coffers from residents through a .09 cent lease tax for every dollar in ride expenses.

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Author: Mina Bloom


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