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Chicago e-scooter injury lawyerAs the city of Chicago continues the second year of its electronic scooter pilot program, fleets of the small, convenient vehicles have become widely available in other cities around the country as well. The explosion in popularity of e-scooters has created challenges for municipal regulators as they struggle to keep up with safety concerns and the impact of the scooters on city traffic patterns. According to a new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), there are several factors that contribute to the likelihood of being injured on or around e-scooters.

Lack of Clear Rules

Electric scooters represent a relatively new phenomenon, and city planners and policymakers are playing “catch-up” in many cities. This means that too often, scooters are made available and are being used without consistent policies and rules in place regarding how to ride with safety as the top priority. The IIHS study found that e-scooter riders suffer more injuries per mile ridden than bicycle riders and were two times more likely to be hurt by potholes, lampposts, and cracks in the pavement. Bike riders, however, were three times more likely to be hit by a car. Thus, clear and consistent policies are extremely important for keeping riders and pedestrians safe.

Riding on Sidewalks

One of the biggest areas of concern is in regard to where e-scooters should be ridden. According to the IIHS, the jury is still out on whether it is actually safer to ride on sidewalks or on the road. The study found that riding on sidewalks creates more opportunities for the riders to be hurt, but riding on the road increases the chances of more severe injuries. Bicycle lanes may offer a potential solution, but combining e-scooters and bicycles—which usually travel at faster speeds—in one lane has risks as well. In the city of Chicago, e-scooters are not allowed to be ridden on sidewalks, so riders must use roadways and bicycle lanes.  

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Chicago e-scooter accident lawyerBy this point, most residents of Northern Illinois are aware that Year Two of the Chicago e-scooter pilot program is now underway. The second round of the program began in August and consists of about 10,000 electric scooters for rent throughout much of the city. During the first month of this year’s program, riders took more than 230,000 trips, which seems to indicate a level of acceptance from the general public.

It is important to remember, however, that e-scooters can be dangerous if they are not used properly and ridden in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. In fact, several dozen deaths have been linked to e-scooters and similar modes of transportation in the last few years, as well as tens of thousands of additional injuries.

Federal Estimates, Scary Numbers

According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), no fewer than 41 people have been killed between 2017 and 2019 in incidents involving e-scooters, e-bikes, and hoverboards—collectively known as “micro-mobility” devices. During that same period, approximately 133,000 people required emergency room treatment for injuries related to micro-mobility products. These figures represent an upward trend in injuries and deaths involving these items, which is hardly surprising, as the trend largely corresponds to the uptick in the devices’ popularity.

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Chicago scooter injury lawyerWe are now a month into the second round of Chicago’s experimental program to test the efficiency and usefulness of electric scooters in the city. City officials have been looking at e-scooters as an environmentally friendly way for people to move around the city without using buses, cars, and other transportation options that rely on fossil fuels. E-scooters are also faster and easier than walking on Chicago’s streets.

The first round of the e-scooter pilot program took place late last summer and into the fall. The second round started in August of this year and is expected to run until December. With the first month of the second test program now in the books, it seems that the novelty of e-scooters may be wearing off, despite an uptick in overall trips.

More Rides Taken, But…

This year’s program put nearly four times as many e-scooters on the streets of Chicago compared to last year, with 10,000 scooters made available from three different scooter companies. In the first month of the program last year, riders took about 218,000 trips, with an average trip covering about a mile and a quarter. This year, the first month saw 230,400 trips, and the average trip covered 1.87 miles.

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Illinois personal injury attorney e-scooter accident

For the second year in a row, the city of Chicago is experimenting with electric scooters. A new pilot program launched on August 12, as part of an effort by city officials to determine if e-scooters should become a permanent part of Chicago street traffic. This year’s version of the program is much larger than last year’s, both in terms of the number of scooters available and the areas of the city in which the scooter can be found.

The E-Scooter Program at a Glance

Three e-scooter companies are taking part in this year’s pilot program. Bird, Lime, and Spin have each pledged to provide one-third of the 10,000 total e-scooters that will be scattered across much of the city. This is about four times as many scooters than were used last summer, but the number of participating companies has dropped from 10 to just three. Each company uses a proprietary mobile phone app and is allowed to set its own pricing for scooter rental. Reports indicate, however, that the prices are similar across the board: about a $1 fee to unlock a scooter and an average of 35 cents per riding minute after that. Discounts, special pricing, and even free rides are available.

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Chicago e-scooter injury attorneysAfter four months of testing a new form of transportation in the city of Chicago, the e-scooter experiment has reached its conclusion. Ranging from June 15th to October 15th, roughly 800,000 e-scooter trips were registered in the defined pilot area. The test program prompted a lot of positive and negative feedback from both riders and pedestrians. The determination of whether or not e-scooters are going to stay or leave is still ongoing. Many factors will be taken into consideration before a decision is reached. 

A Summary of Chicago’s E-Scooter Test Program 

Looking back to the details of Chicago’s test program, the city allowed 10 different companies to distribute a total of 2,500 e-scooters throughout the designated area. These motorized scooters can reach speeds of roughly 15 mph and were governed by the same legal statutes as any other motor vehicle. Varying from company to company, the average cost associated with an e-scooter was the initial fee of $1.00 to unlock the vehicle, accompanied by 15 cents for every minute used. E-scooters were accessible from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day and could be left at any pickup location upon the riders’ completion.  

What Will be Considered?

Whether or not e-scooters will remain in Chicago is the decision that must now be made. Key topics such as safety, popularity, and financials will all be taken into account during deliberation. To coincide with those areas of concern, the following topics may be considered by the city:

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