Chicago's electric scooter pilot program launches: What you should know

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Electric scooters began zipping through Chicago on Saturday.

One of the first training sessions, named the "First Ride Academy," was held by scooter company Lime at Union Park Saturday morning.

If you want to rent this new mode of transportation, you'll need to head to the city's pilot program area on the northwest and southwest sides between Irving Park and Pershing Roads. This is the testing ground in the city's effort to "reduce single occupancy vehicle use." Downtown was purposely omitted because it already has so many transportation options.

CLICK HERE to see a fact sheet and map of pilot program area

The program runs from June 15 to October 15. "First Ride Academy" programs will be held in each ward during the program's first week to teach people how to use the scooters.

Scooters are limited to 15 mph, can't be ridden on sidewalks, operate only from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. and must be removed from the public way each night by their individual vendor.

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The city of Chicago chose 10 scooter companies which can put up to 250 scooters into operation within the 50 square-mile test area. The cost is typically $1 to unlock and then 15 cents per mile. Discount prices are available for those eligible.

Some vendors will provide free helmets, but riders are advised to bring their own in case they run out.

Some electric scooters will have seats for people with disabilities. Some of the scooters can also be unlocked via text message, not app, for those without smartphones.

Roughly 2,500 scooters will be available wherever it's legal to lock a bike in public. You cannot ride a scooter outside of that pilot test zone. If you try to leave the approved area the scooters will slow and then come to a stop.

Scooters are not allowed to be ridden on sidewalks, and police could issue you a ticket if you are.
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