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A rental program for a popular form of personal transportation, which has also caused problems in some other cities, may be on the horizon for Evanston.

Cara Pratt, the city’s sustainability and resilience coordinator, says she expects a “community conversation” about electric scooters some time this year, and the issue “most definitely” will be discussed by City Council.

Pratt’s comments came during a meeting of the city/school district liason committee on Wednesday.

E-scooters are rented for short-term rides, similar to the blue Divvy bikes seen around town. Credit cards are used for payment.

The city of Chicago had e-scooter pilot programs in 2019 and 2020, and just approved a longer-term, citywide plan. Three companies, Spin, Lime, and Link, have each been given two-year contracts. Divvy can also add e-scooters to its existing fleet of bikes.

E-scooters have led to safety complaints in some other cities.

For example, Cincinnati is considering canceling its entire scooter program. Scooters have been illegally used on the sidewalk, under-age riders have been taking them for a spin, and there have even been comments about scooters being used in the commission of crimes (getaway scooters?).

While cancellation seems unlikely, as Cincinnati is giving its two scooter franchisees some time to iron out the problems, that city is now limiting scooter usage to the hours of 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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4 Comments

  1. Please no! In Chicago and DC people ride them recklessly on sidewalks, they are a danger to pedestrians (of which we have many in Evanston) and completely obnoxious.

  2. I am not wild about the idea of more electric scooters. I live on a one-way street in downtown Evanston and I almost hit one coming out of my garage a couple weeks ago. He was coming very fast on the sidewalk and could not be seen because of a concrete wall blocking my view. They were a hazard in a recent trip to Atlanta where they were zipping around the sidewalks downtown late at night. They also seemed to be discarded randomly around the downtown.

  3. Permitting electric scooters requires a change in current ordinance to exclude them from classification as a nuisance — which has been done for e-bikes.
    10-1-9-6. – OPERATION OF CERTAIN VEHICLES ON CERTAIN STREETS, ALLEYS, AND OTHER PUBLIC AREAS PROHIBITED.
    (A) Bicycles Prohibited On Certain Streets. No person shall operate a bicycle upon those streets designated in Schedule XV(B), Section 10-11-15 of this Title.
    (B) Nuisance. Except as provided for in Subsection (C) of this Section, it is hereby declared a public nuisance and unlawful: 1. To operate, stop, park, or stand a vehicle required to be registered under the Illinois Vehicle Code within any public park; over or through any barrier created for the purpose of diverting traffic; upon any beach, parkway, sidewalk or public area of the City. 2. To operate or propel any motorized or motor assisted skateboard, motorized or motor assisted roller skates, motorized scooter, or motor assisted pedicycle, upon any sidewalk, street, or public way or in or upon any municipal parking area, parking lot, or upon any street, roadway, or public way within the corporate limits of the City. Subsection 10-1-9-6(B)(2) does not apply to Class 1 or Class 2 low-speed electric bicycles, as defined by City Code Section 10-1-9.

  4. I like the idea of having more e-scooters in Evanston to reduce the amount of cars on the road, making E-Town a more eco friendly city. But I do feel that they should only be operated by responsible riders who stay off the sidewalk, who follow traffic laws, who ride slow around corners to be safe from other vehicles. Having more bike lanes on most if not all main roads would help this issue. Having police enforce traffic laws to scooter riders.

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