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What you should know about the electric scooters launching Saturday

10 companies will have 250 scooters each available to rent. Here’s how you do it and what you need to know.

Electric scooters launch in Chicago Saturday.
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Starting Saturday, 2,500 electric scooters will be available to rent in a 50-mile test zone covering parts of the West, Southwest and Northwest sides.

The pilot program ends Oct. 15.

In the zone: Wicker Park, Austin, Avondale, Pilsen, and South Lawndale, among other neighborhoods.

Not in the zone: the Loop and lakefront.

Two priority areas covering roughly the western half of the zone will get at least 25% of the scooters every morning, according to the city.

The scooters are from 10 companies: Bird, Bolt, gruv, JUMP, Lime, Lyft, Sherpa, Spin, VeoRide and Wheels.

How much will it cost?

Prices vary among vendors, but typically are about $1 to rent, plus 15 cents per minute.

Where can you pick up a scooter?

The companies typically require companies to use a smartphone app or go to a company’s website to find a scooter. Riders also can call customer service at one of the firms.

They can then be rented and unlocked with the phone app or by calling.

The city is requiring vendors to offer options for people without smartphones, or who pay with cash. Details of those plans are not yet available.

How do you go?

Riders push off with one foot to get moving; then accelerate using the throttle on the handlebars.

How do you stop?

The brakes are also on the handlebars, but some brands’ brakes engage both the front and the back wheels. On others, the rider engages the rear brake separately, with a foot.

How long do they last?

Scooter batteries can stay charged for up to three days, depending on the type of battery, said Linda Jackson, director of communications with VeoRide.

Employees will collect and charge the scooters every night; scooters can be rented only from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m.

Where can you leave it when you’re done? How do you leave it?

When they’re done, riders must take a picture of their scooter and upload it to the app to avoid further charges. It is not yet clear what riders without smartphones will do instead.

The scooters should be left upright, not lying on the ground, and parallel to the sidewalk and roadway. The rules are similar to those for bicycles.

The scooters also can be parked in bike racks, next to street signs or retired city parking meters.

Fleet technicians also monitor the scooters throughout the day.

If a scooter is left outside the test zone, charges will continue to accrue.

“We can charge them up to $120,” Jackson said.

How fast do they go? How can I stay safe while riding?

Scooters cannot travel faster than 15 mph and are not to be driven on sidewalks.

Helmet use is encouraged but not required.

Who can ride? What do you need to access a scooter?

Riders must be 18. A driver’s license is not required. Age is confirmed when a user registers for the phone app.

The scooters have GPS tracking in case of theft.

What happens after Oct. 15?

The city will look at ridership data to decide if the program was successful and is worth instituting permanently.