In the City of Chicago and the state of Illinois, you DO NOT need a license to ride an electric scooter. The only requirement is that you be at least 18 years old or 16 years old and have the consent of a parent or legal guardian.
With electric scooter riders navigating Chicago’s streets who are potentially less experienced with traffic laws because they lack a valid Illinois driver’s license, it’s important for drivers and riders alike to share the road safely to avoid serious scooter accidents.
Where can I ride a shared e-scooter in Chicago?
In Chicago, electric scooters can be ridden on any designated bike lane. They are prohibited from riding on sidewalks, as well as in parks, at beaches, and on certain trails such as the Lakefront Trail, The 606 (Bloomingdale Trail), or the Chicago Riverwalk.
When Electric Scooters Share the Road
If there is no designated bike lane available, then scooters with an electric motor are allowed to share the road with other vehicles. In this scenario, they are expected to stay on the right side of the road so automobiles are able to pass them. When sharing the road with motorized vehicles, electric scooters need to abide by the Illinois vehicle code traffic rules as there are no specific scooter laws under Illinois law that apply to e-scooters.
What rules do I need to follow when riding an e-scooter?
To ride electric scooters, you must follow the same rules, regulations, and local laws as bicycle riders. This includes stopping at stop signs and red lights, yielding to pedestrians, signaling when turning, and riding in the same direction as traffic.
Unlike motorized bicycles and other types of motor driven cycles, electric scooters have a maximum speed limit of 15mph, and shared e-scooters are designed to adhere to this limit by capping their top speed at 15 miles per hour. As an extra safety precaution, a rider’s initial trip on a shared scooter is further restricted to a speed of 10MPH. These speed limits are implemented to ensure the safety of the low speed electric scooter riders and pedestrians, prioritizing their well-being.
Chicago Scooter Parking Laws
Additional rules about electric scooter parking include:
- Scooters must be parked in the public right-of-way unless the scooter rental company has established a designated parking area on private property.
- Scooters should be parked upright with both wheels on the ground.
- Scooters must be parked in a manner that there is a clear path of travel for pedestrians with at least 5 feet of clearance.
- Scooters are not permitted to be parked along building facades or to interfere with fire hydrants, bus shelters, loading zones, or building access area.
- Scooters must be secured to a fixed, physical object such as a bike rack, meter pole, street sign, or light pole when they are not in use.
- Scooters are not permitted to be locked to private fences, bus shelters, bus stop signage, or disabled parking signs.
Are electric scooters road legal?
Yes, in Chicago, electric scooters are considered road legal vehicles similar to electric bicycles. Riders must adhere to standard traffic laws when operating an electric scooter on roads with other motorized vehicles. Low speed electric scooters are not allowed on highways or expressways.
What do you need in order to ride a shared e-scooter in Chicago?
Under Illinois scooter laws, the only requirement to ride an electric scooter in Chicago is that you are at least 18 years old or 16 years old with parental or legal guardian’s consent. You do not need a valid driver’s license to ride an e-scooter in Chicago (this means you do not need any of the following: Class D for passenger vehicles; Class L motorcycle license for a motor-driven cycle with less than 150cc displacement; as well as Class M for any other motorcycle or motor-driven cycle.)
Most shared scooter companies allow payment via an app, so be sure you have a mobile device with you to check out and pay for your ride. You will also need to know the rules and regulations for riding a shared scooter outlined by the city of Chicago. This includes knowing where you can ride and park your scooter, as well as following traffic laws.
While helmets are not required by any scooter rider laws, they are strongly encouraged. The most common injury reported when operating an e-scooter is head injuries.
Additionally, it’s important to have basic knowledge of how to operate the scooter, including accelerating, braking, and steering.
Do I need insurance coverage to ride an electric scooter?
Electric scooter riders are not legally required to have liability insurance in Chicago. It’s important to note that your auto or motorcycle insurance typically will not cover a shared e-scooter rental since the policy only covers the vehicle explicitly written in the policy.
When can I rent a shared e-scooter?
In Chicago, shared electric scooters are available to rent from 5AM-Midnight daily. This is the designated operational window for scooter rental companies, and riders must return their scooter by midnight to avoid additional fees.
It’s also important to note that electric scooters may not be rented during inclement weather conditions such as heavy rain or snow. This is for the safety of riders and to prevent potential accidents.
What if I get hurt while riding a shared electric scooter?
If you’re injured in an electric scooter accident with a pedestrian or motor vehicle, it’s important to gather the same information as if you were in a car or bicycle accident. Be sure to seek medical attentions, get contact information for everyone involved, get witness contact info, file a police report, and document the scene of the accident with photos and videos. Make sure to discuss your options with an experienced personal injury attorney.