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E-Scooter Pilot Project On Hold In Normal

Two electric scooters parked on a sidewalk
Tim Evanson
Town planner Mercy Davison says that Illinois law would require individual E-scooters to be registered and licensed.

The Town of Normal is pulling back on a pilot project to allow E-scooters into the community. Talks with Illinois State University and a scooter company began in January, but town planner Mercy Davison said that is now on hold.

University communities around the country have been targeted by E-scooter companies who see an audience for the motorized vehicles. But Davison said that after looking into the ordinances of other communities in Illinois, the town found that scooters would not be a possibility anytime soon.

“We have been able to stop thinking about (scooters) based on the fact state law doesn’t allow them on the roads anyway,” she said. Because state law considers E-scooters motorized vehicles, they would have to be individually registered and licensed to be on the roads.

“We are quite sure,” she said, “no E-scooter company would want to do that; so, we are not even entertaining the E-scooter conversation right now.”

Davison said that E-scooter companies have been going to states where the law is in limbo and “have been suggesting their own state law change that would make the environment more friendly for their companies.” She continued that she would not be surprised if something similar is happening in Springfield since the current code was not written “with E-scooters in mind”.

If law is passed, Davison said that it would still be a long road to Normal becoming a test case for E-scooters.

“We still need to have quite a bit of conversation with our police department and Illinois State University and other stakeholders and just restart the conversation about what rules we would want in place if we were to become a pilot community—or (asking) when E-scooters become legal, how are we going to deal with this? It’s still too early to say if we’re going to be pioneering anything.”  

Davison said Chicago may become the test case for the rest of the state.

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