Swarms of Birds and Limes have descended onto Case Western Reserve University’s campus in recent weeks.
At the beginning of the school year, Cleveland announced they would be partnering with several companies to provide dockless electric scooters, including Bird, Lime, Spin and VeoRide.
The city launched a six month pilot program with the companies in late August as part of an effort to create “helpful transportation option[s] … since about a quarter of Clevelanders don’t have access to a personal vehicle,” explained the Cleveland City Planning Commission’s website. One of the areas in which this pilot program is launching is University Circle—and therefore the campus of CWRU.
CWRU itself does not have an explicit agreement with the scooter companies. However, Stephanie Corbett, director of the Office of Energy and Sustainability, explained that the university wants to “engage directly with the scooter companies regarding how best to manage the scooters and also maintain safety on and near campus.” Regarding rider safety, Corbett advises that “as when riding on a bike, students should wear helmets, obey traffic laws and signals and ride defensively.”
However, it appears few students have issues with safety regarding the scooters. “I’ve gotten hit by a bike but not a scooter,” shared Joannah Yeh, a second-year accounting major. “Scooters are better than bikes. They haven’t done anything to me personally.”
When asking students’ opinions on the addition of scooters to campus, most are neutral or detachedly positive. Margaret Zimmer, a second-year accounting major, has never ridden the scooters herself, but thinks they are an overall beneficial for the student population.
“They’re cool. It’s a fun idea, and will really help students go from Northside to Southside.”
One possible area of concern that keeps students from using the scooters is the pricing. Users pay $1 to unlock the scooters, and about $0.15 every minute it is in use.
“If you wanna use it that badly you’re gonna have to pay the price. It’s like Uber,” stated Zimmer, “For someone who doesn’t want to buy their own scooter to get around, it’s nice to have a little scoot.”
Rachel Loewy, a third-year nursing student who has used the scooters before, thinks the pricing is fair: “definitely cheaper than buying an Uber and good in a hurry.”
She has plans to use the scooters as a method of transportation to the new health education campus if she’s ever in a bind, but also has some concerns.
“I generally like them, but it scares me that I can’t use them on the sidewalk, because being on the road on one of those things is scary.”
The University continues to stress safe operating procedures of the scooters as they assess the impact on the campus community. Students can buy helmets at Thwing Center for $12 or at a discount after one ride on the scooter. Additionally, the Office of Energy and Sustainability is planning further demonstrations, safety workshops and giveaways in the coming weeks for students.