One Reddit search will tell you the number of claims of students and faculty has been hit by electric scooters, followed by dozens of complaints.
On January 21st, user UMSvictim in a post wrote, “I was too initially traumatized to even look at, much less get the names of, the many witnesses or the guy who hit me.”
Another post by user ComprehensiveOffer51 claims, “I was hit from behind today on my walk down AI, Aberdeen-Inverness, hill by an electric bike and the rider continued on her merry way without so much of a glance behind her.”
These Reddit posts are met with mixed discourse online, and are just a small sample of the many reports of electric scooter and bike related incidents. With what seems to be an increase in on-campus unlicensed motorized scooter, UMS incidents, many students question what policies the university has in place.
In 2010, campus policy 450-24 was implemented by the Office of the Associate Vice Chancellor, Business & Administrative Services. This policy features the banning of UMS on campus, except for those with mobility impairment. Within the policy procedures, the line of responsibility with on-campus enforcement of the UMS ban is laid out clearly. However, this is not reflected on campus at all.
Getting around campus by UMS is a popular option among students. In simple terms, UMSs are the favored mode of transportation due to of Riverside’s poor transit systems. UC Riverside is considered a large campus, yet it is paired with unpredictable Riverside Transit Agency, RTA, buses. The absence of the campus bus loop leaves a large number of students with very few transportation options — bike, skate or scooter. UMSs are one of the speediest options of the bunch, yet this is the root of the problem.
UMSs have what regular bikes and skates do not — the ability to reach high speeds in a short time. Speedy scooters and a crowded HUB on a Wednesday is a recipe for disaster. Scootering at full speed on a campus filled with students can be dangerous, allowing pedestrians and even the rider to be struck. Last fall, a San Jose State student was killed after colliding with a bus on an electric scooter. The 18-year-old’s death is an example of the possibilities of what UMS usage can lead to on campus. After certain speeds, these scooters can become hard to control.
Despite the multiple reports of crashes, UMSs remain on campus and do not seem to be going away. With a dense scooter population at UC Riverside, citations by Transportation and Parking Services, TAPS, appear to be minimal. If UMS usage continues to grow on campus, so will more accidents. Going 20 MPH and not following bicycle etiquette should not be the new norm on campus.
A senior told The Highlander, “Anybody on wheels on campus needs to watch where they’re going. Stop using sidewalks. You belong in the bike lane.”
Whether UMSs are cited or not soon, this is a wake-up call for Riverside to provide better transportation options. While UC Riverside students await reliable and easy transportation, users of micro-mobility need a reminder that the pedestrian rules the road, even on campus.