Chicago’s Electric Scooter Program Raises Safety Issues

On June 15 Chicago will launch its’ first electric scooter program. The scooters will be available to rent. The program will only allow use in designated areas between Irving Park and Pershing Roads. The Chicago Loop has specifically been omitted due to congestion and multiple other transportation options in the area. According to the city, one of the purposes of this program is an effort to “reduce single occupancy vehicle use.” 2,500 scooters will be available wherever it’s legal to lock a bike in public. They’re limited to 15 mph, and they will not be allowed on sidewalks.

Electric scooters in major metropolitan areas have created multiple safety concerns. Electric scooters are responsible for deaths in Dallas, Washington, D.C., Chula Vista, California, and Cleveland. A study, released in January by the Journal of the America Medical Association found of 249 emergency room patients in scooter accidents, most were head injuries, fractures, and soft-tissue injuries. One problem is a lack of helmets. Only 11% of patients under 18 and just over 4% of older riders wore a helmet. Two of those patients had severe head injuries and were placed in intensive care units.

Currently, there are no state laws in Illinois or local Chicago ordinances that require riders wear helmets. The good news is that the city has required the vendors to supply $5 million is insurance coverage per incident.

I have seen these scooters in other cities and for some riders, unfortunately, have not been easy to maneuver. I saw a woman fall down from her scooter in a parking lot and an ambulance had to be called. The problem I foresee is that Chicago is such a dense city. There are large amounts of vehicle and foot traffic in every neighborhood (not just the downtown loop). I hope this project works, but I think the city needs to watch this closely before expanding due to all the safety concerns. I would also like to see a local helmet requirement be put into place. The good news is there appears to be ample insurance in case there are electric scooter accidents that cause serious injuries.

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a Chicago traffic accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.