Chicago launches second e-scooter pilot with Bird, Lime and Spin

Chicago has begun its second e-scooter pilot with new rules implemented to enforce more organised parking.

Micromobility firms Bird, Lime and Spin have been licensed to distribute 9,999 e-scooters between them; 3,333 each. 

The scooters will be available to ride between 5am and 10pm. Helmets are encouraged but not required, and scooters are accessed through smartphone apps. Each company sets its own rates.

The four-month pilot – which follows a troubled 2019 trial – will see scooters equipped with locks. This means riders will be required to secure the scooters to fixed objects such as bike racks, steel sides or retired parking meters to end their trip.

Last year’s initial trial led to ‘carnage’ in Chicago’s centre, with e-scooters parked at random throughout busy pedestrianised areas.

Companies can now leave their scooters locked to fixed objects overnight if they don’t need to be recharged or transported to a different part of the city in order to balance their fleets. Last year, the city required scooters be removed every night and returned to the public in the morning.

If scooters are improperly parked, city officials are urging folks to call the number of that particular scooter company, which will be clearly listed on each scooter.

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