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 bushes. The pictures had been amusing, however sidewalk litter — particularly when it impacts folks 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 awesome thought to have mid-weight objects unsecured in public space, the place anybody can knock them over or decide them up and misuse them.
That’s why Streetsblog Chicago advocated for having a “lock-to” requirement for scooters, with built-in locks for securing the gadgets to bike racks, signal poles, and parking meters. Town applied that technique, and for this yr’s pilot all of the scooters from the three concessionaires, Fowl, Lime, and Spin, have built-in cable locks. Because of this, Chicago Fails hasn’t had a lot to tweet about scooter-wise this summer season. Scooter-blocked sidewalks and trashed e-gadgets have just about gone the way in which of the dinosaur in Chicago.
The plain draw back of the lock-to technique is that scooters are taking on house on our metropolis’s restricted variety of bike parking fixtures, and that basically annoys some native cyclists. The sight of a big 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, Fowl eliminated most of these scooters shortly after a Streetsblog reader tweeted the photograph 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.
— Hieronymus Burps 🥦💥 and 68 others (@hieronymus_burp) August 19, 2020
I’ve additionally heard complaints that individuals are discovering scooters locked to fences, railings, and bushes in entrance of their properties. That’s towards the foundations of the scooter pilot. However, the identical points exist with personal bikes. However is the lock-to rule making a parking crunch? It relies on who you ask.
I haven’t been as anxious as some within the scooters 🛴 vs bikes 🚲 rack availability.
— Chris Ridgeway (@ridgewaychris) September 4, 2020
Personally, I don’t see the lock-to scooters as a serious 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 bunch of latest racks, which ought to assist ease any potential parking scarcity.
Nonetheless, the scooter firms are personal entities benefiting from a public useful resource, city-installed bike racks. It’s not clear whether or not any of their allow charges are going in direction of bike racks. The division didn’t have an instantaneous reply to that query. If not, we should always foyer for the scooter corporations to be required to pay for added bike and scooter parking, ideally on-street corrals situated out of the way in which of pedestrians.
Comply with John Greenfield on Twitter at @greenfieldjohn.