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Measure to allow more electric scooters in Illinois headed to governor

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(The Center Square) – Legislation that loosens restrictions on electric scooters is headed to the governor for his signature.

Low-speed electric scooters would no longer be defined as a motor vehicle.

Josh Witkowski from Modern Mobility said a scooter that travels less than 10 miles per hour should not have the same classification as a motor vehicle.

“Scooters are not in vehicle code currently, so because they are not in vehicle code, they are treated as motor vehicles,” said Witkowski. “Other words, they expect you to have headlights, tail lights, light turn signals, proof of insurance, all that fun stuff.”

Senate Bill 1960 also states that low-speed electric scooters can only be used in municipalities or park districts if authorized, and that they cannot be operated on highways with a speed limit over 35 mph.

“It is an opt-in, you don’t have to do this, but if you want to regulate electric scooters in your community or your park district then this is the way to do it,” said the bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Dave Koehler, D-Peoria.

E-scooters and e-bikes have gained popularity in the past few years but with little regulation. A spokesman at the University of Illinois said it is difficult for police to document and penalize e-bike misconduct because they have no specific incident code and state law hasn’t caught up with the technology.

In 2022, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory joined the Civic Infrastructure Collaborative and Millennium Parking Garages in Chicago to test the results of combining off-street parking with e-scooter rentals. The hope is to reduce traffic congestion downtown.