STREETERVILLE — For tourists, Segway tours are a new, fun, exciting way to see Chicago.
For Downtown residents, they're a menace, according to Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd).
"I understand they're very popular for visitors to Chicago, and I'm not looking to get rid of them, but having 30 Segways going down the middle of the sidewalk is not necessarily safe for folks, especially folks with mobility issues," Reilly said.
At his annual town hall meeting Wednesday with the Streeterville Organization of Active Residents, Reilly lauded an ordinance he said he introduced to the City Council earlier that day that "you'll probably be reading about in the newspapers tomorrow."
The ordinance would impose an 8-mph maximum speed for Segway tour riders and a 12-mph maximum for tour guides, Reilly said.
"Working with the Police Department and the Park District, we had this ordinance replicate the Illinois standard, which has never been followed in Chicago," he said.
The ordinance would also "limit the size of those tours to a maximum of eight Segways per tour," Reilly said. "Currently, there is no limitation on the size of these tours. During a tour that includes more than three Segways, the tourists' speed will not exceed 8 miles per hour."
The ordinance also calls for a blanket ban of Segways on the Navy Pier flyover bridge that just began a four-year construction in Streeterville.
"The flyover is the solution to our pedestrian-bicycle conflict down below on Lake Shore, so we don't want to screw that up," Reilly said.
The Downtown alderman was quick to allay concerns that Chicago's visitors would be punished for failing to heed the new speed limits.
"What we don't want to do is have a tourist coming to Chicago, and their first experience is getting a ticket for riding on a Segway," Reilly said.
"The fines that are assessed for breaking these rules are not assessed to the visitors — they're assessed to the tour operators," he said.