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Chicago lock-to rule means scooters are parked on bike racks. Is that a problem or NBD? – Streetsblog Chicago

Chicago lock-to rule means scooters are parked on bike racks. Is that a problem or NBD? – Streetsblog Chicago 2020-09-05Leave a comment

electrical bike Chicago lock-to rule means scooters are parked on bike racks. Is that an issue or NBD? – Streetsblog Chicago

Final yr throughout Chicago’s first dockless electrical scooter pilot, the satirical Twitter account Chicago Fails tweeted out countless photos of e-scooter misuse, together with the devices strewn throughout sidewalks, thrown in rubbish cans and dumpsters, and even hanging from timber. The pictures have been amusing, however sidewalk litter — particularly when it impacts individuals with disabilities — and vandalism eyesores aren’t any laughing matter. There was even a case final yr the place somebody dropped a scooter from the Bloomingdale elevated trail, smashing a automobile’s sunroof. All of it served to show the precept that it’s not an ideal concept to have mid-weight objects unsecured in public space, the place anybody can knock them over or choose them up and misuse them.

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Scooter mayhem final yr within the West Loop. Picture: Steve Niketopoulos by way of Chicago Scooter Fails

That’s why Streetsblog Chicago advocated for having a “lock-to” requirement for scooters, with built-in locks for securing the units to bike racks, signal poles, and parking meters. Town carried out that technique, and for this yr’s pilot all of the scooters from the three concessionaires, Hen, Lime, and Spin, have built-in cable locks. In consequence, Chicago Fails hasn’t had a lot to tweet about scooter-wise this summer time. Scooter-blocked sidewalks and trashed e-gadgets have just about gone the way in which of the dinosaur in Chicago.

Riding scooters in Lakeview. Photo: John Greenfield
Using scooters in Lakeview. Picture: John Greenfield

The apparent draw back of the lock-to technique is that scooters are taking over house on our metropolis’s restricted variety of bike parking fixtures, and that actually annoys some native cyclists. The sight of a giant bike rack with each parking house occupied by a scooter, as was lately the case on the Ravenswood Marianos, is unquestionably eye-roll-worthy. To its credit score, Hen eliminated most of these scooters shortly after a Streetsblog reader tweeted the picture beneath. “Distributors are inspired to take proactive steps to ban the parking of extreme variety of scooters in a single location,” states the city’s scooter guidelines.

I’ve additionally heard complaints that individuals are discovering scooters locked to fences, railings, and timber in entrance of their houses. That’s towards the principles of the scooter pilot. Alternatively, the identical points exist with non-public bikes. However is the lock-to rule making a parking crunch? It is dependent upon who you ask.

Personally, I don’t see the lock-to scooters as a significant obstacle to bike parking. The cables are lengthy sufficient that it’s not arduous to push the scooters out of the way in which to lock your bike to a rack. The Chicago Division of Transportation has additionally lately put in a whole lot of recent racks, which ought to assist ease any potential parking scarcity.

Nevertheless, the scooter corporations are non-public entities profiting from a public useful resource, city-installed bike racks. It’s not clear whether or not any of their allow charges are going in the direction of bike racks. The division didn’t have a right away reply to that query. If not, we should always foyer for the scooter companies to be required to pay for extra bike and scooter parking, ideally on-street corrals positioned out of the way in which of pedestrians.

Observe John Greenfield on Twitter at @greenfieldjohn.

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