limeIllinois is one of only three US states that doesn’t have helmet laws on the books. This means anyone over the age of 18 could legally use e-scooters as a part of Chicago’s pilot program without wearing protective headgear.

The Windy City’s Stance On Helmet Use

Just because it’s legal, of course, doesn’t mean city leaders support riding e-scooters without a helmet. Indeed, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) strongly encourages e-scooter riders to wear helmets at all times. As you could see in this CDOT pamphlet, city officials recommend e-scooter users wear DOT-approved helmets while riding in bike-protected lanes.

What Does The Science Say? – Early Data On E-Scooter Safety

Although the research into e-scooter safety is still in its infancy, more and more research into this issue reveals the same trend: e-scooter injury patients have poor helmet compliance. Of course, there’s no enough evidence to form a link between helmets and e-scooter injuries, but it’s safe to say helmets could prevent severe head trauma.

The first study to investigate this issue took place at UCLA between 2017 – 2018 and tracked about 250 e-scooter injury patients in two ER clinics. Scientists found only 4 percent of these victims were wearing a helmet when they collided with another person, vehicle, or stationary object.

Yet another study conducted by the CDC in Austin found only one percent of e-scooter injury patients wore a helmet at the time of their crash. Further research out of UC San Diego found 98 percent of e-scooter injury patients weren’t wearing helmets.

How E-Scooter Companies Spread Safety

But it’s not just public safety advocates who are interested in increasing e-scooter helmet compliance. All of the e-scooter companies now operating in Chicago encourage their riders to wear helmets. Indeed, a few of the bigger companies like Lime and Bird are well known for hosting safety educational campaigns throughout the year.

To help some riders, some e-scooter companies offer discounted or free helmets to app subscribers. Check on your preferred company’s official website to find out if they have a special helmet policy. For example, here’s how to get a free helmet from Bird.

Protection For Your Peepers: Illinois’s Intriguing Eyewear Law

As a quick aside: the State of Illinois does have an eyewear protection law for motorcyclists on the books. So, while motorcyclists can ride around without a helmet on, it’s illegal not to wear some form of protective eyewear.

The reason for this eyewear law is to protect dust, stones, or flies from hitting a motorcyclist’s eyes while on the road. Wearing a protective pear of glasses will minimize the risk of a motorcyclist suddenly losing vision and crashing into other vehicles.

Further Resources For The Windy City’s E-Scooter Program

If you want to learn more about Chicago’s e-scooter program, please visit this official page put together by the city. You can learn more specific information on the companies operating in this program by following the links below:

Bird – https://www.bird.co/

Bolt – http://www.micromobility.com

gruv – grüv

JUMP – https://help.jumpbikes.com/hc/en-us

Lime – Lime Micromobility | Electric Scooter and Bike Rentals

Lyft – https://www.lyft.com/

Sherpa – Riding the Windy City

Spin – Spin – Ride The Moment

VeoRide – Home • VeoRide

Wheels – https://www.wheels.com/

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