Electric scooters are Chicago’s latest mode of transportation. A test program rolled out last month and brought a fleet of dockless electric scooters to the city. Officials will evaluate the scooters as a way to cut down on cars and connect residents to other transit options.
The four-month pilot, according to Chicago Curbed, is only on the city’s west side. It’s in an area bordered by Halsted Street and the Chicago River on the east, Irving Park Road to the north, Chicago city limits and Harlem Avenue to the west, and the Chicago River to the south.
A strict guideline was created, including a maximum speed of 15 mph, operating hours of 5 a.m. – 10 p.m., use on streets only – not sidewalks – and scooters must be parked in a fashion similar to bicycles.
In addition to these rules, electric scooter users must follow the rules of the road and take safety precautions. A safety blogger for EHS Today, Sincerely Stephanie, wrote about her concerns with scooter safety.
“Many people using the scooters disregard these [safety] instructions, choosing to ride on the sidewalk. This creates safety issues for pedestrians as well as the driver. [F]ree helmets are available. However, they must be requested through the app and the user must pay shipping. The helmets take about a week to arrive, and unless the rider is willing to wait to use the scooter, this completely negates the purpose of having personal protective equipment available. Since then, rider safety still seems to be on the back burner for electric scooter companies, and cities are fighting back,” she wrote.
Illinois does have scooter laws
According to Value Penguin, Illinois has different laws and regulations for scooters, mopeds and motorized bicycles in terms of licensing, operation and insurance. In general, scooters and mopeds are required to be registered and insured while motorized bikes are not. Furthermore, scooters require special licensing (Class M or L) while mopeds can be ridden legally in Illinois with just any class of driver's license, and no license is required to operate a motorized bike.
In Illinois, scooters—officially designated as motor-driven cycles—can be ridden with a Class L or M license. They also have to be registered and have the minimum amount of liability insurance.
Scooters or motor-driven cycles are defined as vehicles having two, three or four wheels and an engine of less than 150cc. When operating a scooter, you are required to wear eye protection or a protective transparent windshield. Additionally, to be legally ridden at night, a scooter has to have a headlight that is visible from 500 feet away and a taillight that is visible from 100-600 feet away.
The electric kick scooters that have been brought to national attention by short-term rental services such as Bird and Lime do not require any special licensing. Generally, these vehicles can be ridden on public roads, though local laws may limit where or whether they can be ridden. Furthermore, scooter riders do not have to wear head protection, as there are no helmet laws in Illinois.
What to do when you’re in an accident
Even if you obey all the laws of the road, electric scooter accidents can happen. Contact Coplan + Crane personal injury lawyers in Illinois today if you’ve been hurt in a scooter accident or for other injury cases.