Dear Seasoned Chicago Cyclists,
Please try to impart the patience and compassion you would have for a first time bike commuter. Having experienced the roll out in DC and already had one scooter fatality, there's definitely a concern about safety. Basically, scooter users will likely be pedestrians (not cyclists) turned scooter riders so they won't know the ins and outs like a seasoned cyclist. Think first time Divvy user. So yes, you'll see them on the sidewalks (even though they aren't supposed to), bike lanes, and streets. Lots of patience will be necessary. While scooters can be a good addition to the non-car commuter, they do pose risks to themselves (mostly) and other vulnerable users of the roads.
Here's an article with the details of the scooter roll-out:
I, for one, welcome our new e-scooter friends. I hope more people using our streets in this manner raises awareness for better street design, and more people will recognize the need to invest in better bike infrastructure in neighborhoods where it is currently lacking.
I don't really understand the automatic desire to ban them from trails like the 606 (or I assume the lakefront trail if it ever gets that far). These places seem ideal for e-scooter use. They're wide, flat, smooth and the other users on these trails are already accustomed to sharing the space with bikes. E-scooters generally move at the same speed as bikes, and take up less space. Riding an e-scooter along the 606 sounds like a fun experience for tourists. I don't really see how this is any more dangerous than a bike in the same context.
Instead, we will force people to ride scooters down our pothole filled streets in the door zones, in our woefully inadequate bike lanes dodging ride-share and delivery vehicles, with little or no protection from speeding drivers distracted by their cell phones as they pass dangerously close, cut them off, turn in front of them and yell at them for being in "their" roadway. After observing scooter riders in these situations and documenting the inevitable crashes and injuries that will occur, rather than work to improve street designs we will instead conclude that scooters are too dangerous and call for their banishment. [/rant]
This depends on the scooter's top speed and if they're as wobbly as tourists on Divvys. Most electric scooters I've seen on the lake front aren't very fast though there are the occasional tree branches and pavement joins I wouldn't want to hit with small wheels.
Plus from a safety and aesthetic standpoint I hope scooters aren't abandoned along the path and in the park. It doesn't sound like the pilot programs are near the lake, though.
I'm more worried about the 25-30 mph e-bikes where riders aren't even pretending to pedal anymore. At that speed with that weight someone's going to really get hurt, assuming they don't get hit by a car careening off Lake Shore Drive first.
Scooters are limited to 15 mph according to Streetsblog.
Its become a somewhat regular occurrence to be passed on the LFT by an e-scooter going way faster. My computer says I'm doing 15 mph and they fly by me. Not looking forward to the e-bikes. I'd prefer no motorized traffic on the off-road paths like the LFT and 606.
I've been riding an ebike on the LFT for a little over a year now for my commute, 8 miles each way (6 on the LFT). I follow the rules of the road/trail. I occasionally get passed by a cyclist when I'm going 21 mph. I cycle a lot slower when the trail is crowded.
What's important is just basic etiquette, which boils down to safety and common sense. Plenty of recreational cyclists lack this. It's not about the bike.
Funnily enough, I've only seen one e-scooter so far.
Correct. The electrical assist on the new e-Divvies will top out at 18 mph.
Correct, the test area for scooters is south of Irving Park, west of the Chicago River, Halsted, then north of I-55: https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/HO1VVY1q1Rf6EJqJRoFU_HEE2PQ=/0x0:10...
1. Smash scooter
2. Remove battery.
3. Throw in the nearest body of water.
4. Recycle battery for sweet, sweet $$.
Ya know, not really a fan of destroying and stealing but that's just me. :-/
The problem with scooters is that their wheels are too small to handle even slight road defects. From what I can tell, the tires are solid or semi-solid (whatever that is), so they don't have much, if any, shock absorption capability. Inevitably, the more scooters are out there, the more they will be on sidewalks and the more problems that will create and already are creating. Putting 15 mile-per-hour machines on sidewalks intended for people walking less than three miles an hour will create a lot of problems. There's not much point in being on a scooter if you're only going as fast as a pedestrian, is there? People aren't going to limit themselves to pedestrian speeds on sidewalks if they're on scooters. Also, on a sidewalk one person on a scooter takes up a lot more space than an ordinary pedestrian.
Everything has its place, I guess, but everything does not belong in every place. From what I can tell, it's the goal of every manufacturer of ebikes and scooters to get them allowed in places where they don't really belong. Bike paths should not be for "ebikes" that go way faster than most cyclists, don't require any pedaling, and aren't even really bicycles. Bicycles aren't generally allowed on sidewalks for good reason, especially in downtown urban areas, and neither should be scooters. In downtown Chicago, they've rented so much room on the sidewalks to restaurants and cafes already that it's hard to even squeeze by on foot.