Student Life and Scooters

February 2020

story & design: eunji rhee  photo: sean yu

Since Fall 2018, there has been an influx of scooters in Columbus. Especially, more and more students are using scooters not only as a means of transportation on campus but also for fun. Students enjoy the speed of the scooters that can achieve 15 miles per hour. Several companies, namely Lyft, Lime, Spin and Bird, offer electric scooter rental. All you need to do is download the app, save your payment method on the app, find a scooter, scan the code, and then you are ready to go.

There are several reasons why students enjoy riding scooters. Students can ride a scooters to go to class quickly. Not only do they use them to get to their classrooms, but they can also use them to go to other places such as restaurants. Also, since there are lots of brands providing scooter service, students have the option to choose their desired scooter depending on their preferences. Since the scooters are electric, they also save a lot of energy. They weigh 28 pounds on average, which are only 1% of the weight of cars. As a result, they emit much less carbon dioxide compared to other transportation that runs on traditional petroleum fuel.

However, they have drawbacks as well. Sometimes it is difficult to find an available scooter when there are lots of people using them at the moment. Moreover, riding the scooters for a long period of time could become expensive. They cost $1 to unlock and require an additional $0.15 per minute to ride on average. It is beneficial for short rides - usually within 5 minutes. Furthermore, it is challenging to ride scooters in the winter since the scooters may slip easily due to snow. The users also have to be cautious about safety issues since accidents could occur if you do not look carefully.

"You cannot go wrong as long as there are big wheels

 

Many users hope that companies will produce more scooters, so that as customers, they would be able to access the vehicles more frequently. One of the facts that stood out was that many scooter riders do not feel comfortable using Spin scooters, because they feel it takes longer to upload the picture of the parking spot compared to other brands. Another negative comment about Spin is that they do not accelerate on certain areas such as The Oval, which is inconvenient. Among the four major brands, Lyft is the most preferred brand for students according to Kevin Lai.

“You cannot go wrong as long as there are big wheels,” said an OSU student Kevin Lai, who is a scooter enthusiast. 

The companies that lend scooters provide various types of scooters even within one brand. Lai recommends finding these types of scooters, regardless of the brand since they are less bumpy, travel faster, and accelerate easily. Lai also recommends that students should try the scooters, but that to be careful to not become addicted.

For those who have not tried scooters, “Try it, but do not get addicted to it-you might end up spending lots of money”, said Lai. 

For those who have just started riding the scooters, he recommended spending some time practice riding it. Some of the quick tips he provided were to avoid making quick turns and turning/accelerating at the same time. These actions are dangerous, making the user vulnerable to fall off. It is also recommended to always put one's fingers on the brake to facilitate an abrupt stop if needed. 

You can easily find scooters near 18th avenue library on campus according to Lai. The time period that scooters are most frequently used is during the break between classes since a lot of students use them to quickly go to class. By putting in a little effort to drive safely, you can benefit from scooters on campus.

Below is the ranking of the four major scooter brands on campus.

  • Cost: 1 = most expensive and 4 = least expensive.

  • Accessibility: 1 = smallest number of scooters on campus and 4 = largest number of scooters on campus.

  • Speed: 1 = slowest and 4 = fastest