Back in October, the UC Police Department (UCPD) emailed the UCR campus about the then-new Bird electric scooters. That email requested that students not use the vehicles on campus because they went against current policies and were deemed unsafe; it was later discovered by the Highlander that UCR has since been working to update those policies, as well as make it safer for electric scooters to be used on and around campus.
In an interview with the Highlander Nov. 13, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Auxiliary Services Andy Plumley discussed the progress that he, Transportation and Parking Services (TAPS) and other cooperating groups have made with both the legal issues of the electric scooters and the safety concerns that they bring to the campus.
One action that TAPS has taken to handle the scooters is storing any that they find on campus in a closed lot behind the TAPS building. According to Plumley over 500 of them are sitting in that lot, and the number is growing. “It’s against current policies to ride the scooters on campus, and it’s rude to just dump them around without consulting us first,” he said, ”We do not appreciate these guerilla tactics of Bird, and we’re keeping those scooters until they start cooperating with us more.”
Plumley also pointed out that Bird was slow to respond to UCR’s emails, and that they have not responded to their more recent email requests; but Lime, another electric scooter company active on campus, have been relatively more “cooperative” with UCR, according to Plumley. “They contacted us for the rules on electric scooters before setting up, and right now we’re on pretty good terms with them,” Plumley said.
Plumley also emphasized the importance of establishing and maintaining campus safety with the electric scooters, which he wants done in part by creating designated driveways on campus. However Plumley pointed out that doing so would take a “very long time” and does not expect much to be seen in the way of progress for a while. During the interview it was brought up that Bird offers free helmets to those that use their app, to which Plumley believed that “maybe we can work with them and Lime to keep our students safe in that regard.”
It was emphasized by Plumley that the electric scooters are not allowed anywhere on campus grounds. “Once you’re outside of campus, like the roads around the sports fields, it’s free game,” Plumley said, “but even then students are still walking on those sidewalks. It’s important that we make sure our students stay safe while UCR handles the problems we’re having with these scooters.”