Shared electric scooters are returning to Chicago streets

Shared electric scooters are returning to Chicago’s streets, with a new pilot program focused on helping people get around the city’s neighborhoods.

City officials announced three companies — Bird, Lime and Spin — will make a total of 10,000 scooters available for rent over four months. That’s four times the number of scooters available during the first pilot program last summer.

This year’s program is expected to start Aug. 12 and there will be differences from last year’s version.

Scooters must be equipped with locking mechanisms, and riders must lock the scooters to a fixed object, such as a bike rack or street sign, to end their trip. That follows complaints during last year’s pilot about scooters left strewn along sidewalks.

Scooters won’t be allowed on the lakefront or 606 trails, or in the city’s central business district. They may travel at a maximum of 15 miles per hour, and operate only between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. each day.

Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Gia Biagi said city officials learned from last summer’s pilot, and now want to test the usefulness of the scooters in neighborhoods.

“Particularly during this public health crisis, it’s important that CDOT continues to pilot additional and innovative options for Chicagoans to get around,” Biagi said.