CHICAGO (CBS) — The scooters are coming again.
If that sparks visions of jumping out of the way, or hopping over discarded devices, the city says have no fear. Chicago will now have some of the toughest scooter rules in the country.
CBS 2’s Lauren Victory on Monday gave us a sneak peek at what scooters round two could look like.
In just a few short, weeks, 10,000 scooters will be zipping around Chicago again.
“We’ve submitted what we believe a very successful application,” said LeAaron Foley, senior manager of government relations for Lime.
Lime is one of four companies under consideration for the city’s second pilot program. The company let CBS 2 try out its new fleet, which is sturdier, wider, and equipped with a second braking system in the back.
Victory admitted that she could not do this story without bringing up some images from last year’s pilot program.
That time around, cameras caught two-wheeled machines from various vendors thrown all over sidewalks, in the water, and somehow even in a tree. The city’s 2019 pilot evaluation revealed improper parking and abandoned e-scooters were the number one complaints to 311.
Victory: “What is your comment on how Chicago riders behaved last year?”
Foley: “I think Chicago riders are a good example of people in the new introduction to micro-mobility.”
That means there is a learning curve.
To that end, the city is now requiring an in-app safety quiz and locks on every scooter.
“Riders are now required to park their scooters at bike racks or sign posts,” Foley said.
You will be charged until there is photo proof that this rule has been followed.
One of the biggest changes this time is that scooter rides can happen citywide – except along the lakefront, the 606 Trail, and the Central Business district downtown.”
Another no-no and huge complaint last year – sidewalk riding. Lime said it created sidewalk detection technology, though that is not a Chicago requirement.
“It’ll be able to tell the difference between sidewalk and non-sidewalk surfaces, and we’ll send them messages after they complete their ride about where they’ve ridden on the sidewalk and how to prevent them in the future,” Foley said.
Vendor names and phone numbers in Braille also need to be on every device. Accessible scooters will be available on demand.
Another new rule is that 50 percent of scooters need to start on the South and West sides every morning.
The Chicago Department of Transportation said a final decision on vendors should be made in early August.
By the way, the City of San Francisco also requires scooters to be locked instead of dockless. A representative of the Municipal Transportation Agency told CBS 2 that “compliance is markedly better.”