Aldermen push for e-scooters to return to Chicago

Close up image of a man on an electric scooter paying online

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- After changes following two pilot programs, a push to return electric scooters to Chicago comes before a Chicago City Council Transportation Committee hearing Wednesday morning at 9 a.m.

Operators such as Lime, Spin, and Bird would be initially capped at 2,500 scooters each under the current proposed ordinance, which is below the level seen in last year’s pilot program, but could grow to five times that size.

Some alderman who support e-scooter tout the environmental benefits over gas powered cars.

"Scooters can be, and arguably need to be, another sustainable, efficient, affordable form of transportation for all Chicagoans," said 1st Ward Alderman Daniel LaSpata

Alderman Walter Burnett, 27th Ward, pointed out other perks.

"Sometimes they can even beat traffic, because we are stuck in traffic coming downtown and they are just scooting along," he said.

After complaints about the dockless scooters on sidewalks, the ordinance requires the machines to have locks on them and hardware to detect if someone is riding the sidewalk, which would cause it to emit a loud noise.

The e-scooters would also be equipped with tech that would prevent riders from taking them downtown and along the lakefront.

The city said the pilot program brought in about $1.5 million in licensing fees and taxes.