Campus police recommend wearing helmets although they are not required by law.
By Liandre De la Uso
A new mode of transportation is taking flight all over the city and this campus.
Two companies —Bird Co. and Lime —are providing students with scooters, a fast and easy way of getting around campus.
“I was kind of curious on how to use them,” said mechanical engineering sophomore Josue Lira. “It’s fun and it gets you places, although a little pricey, but it’s still cheaper than taking a bus somewhere.”
Students are starting to catch on to this trend and have since started using the e-scooters to get to class.
“Anything that gets students to class on time is a good thing,” said risk management Coordinator Janae Johnson. “But I would just suggest that anyone who uses them takes the same precautions as when they’re riding a bike or a skateboard on campus.”
Bird Co., based out of Santa Monica, Calif., was founded in 2017 before rapidly expanding throughout the country and coming to San Antonio in the summer.
Only 500 e-scooters were placed downtown in June but now number about 1,700 around the city mostly on or around college campuses.
Competitor Lime — formerly known as LimeBike — also entered the e-scooter sharing market. Lime is also based in California.
One month after Bird Co. arrived in San Antonio, Lime released 200 e-scooters in the downtown area. However, in terms of fleet size, Bird Co. still greatly outnumbers the competition.
For students to use the e-scooters, they must download the Bird app where they’ll be able to locate and pay to use a scooter.
An initial fee of $1 is charged and an additional 15 cents for every minute of use afterward is the charge for both services. It costs about $10 to ride one of the e-scooters for one hour.
Once riders secure an e-scooter with the initial fee, it can be locked and unlocked throughout the duration of the ride.
Riders are encouraged to leave e-scooters standing up on the sidewalk at the end of their rides so that they may be used by other riders later.
There have been safety concerns associated with riding the scooters that have been addressed by both the company and the college since students started riding them.
“Any student who plans on using the scooter should wear a helmet,” Deputy Police Chief Joe Pabon said.
“I have seen students riding on the streets, on North Main, and that could be dangerous.”
The San Antonio City Council has proposed regulations that would require dockless scooter companies like e-scooter companies to add an education page to their app to inform users about safe practices.
Riders would also follow the same regulations as cyclists and skaters on the street; however, helmets are not required.
“For the most part, I’ve seen riders be alert, making sure no one is going to hit them.
Some students approach the intersection and stop to look both ways and wait for the light,” Pabon said.
There have been no reports of e-scooter related injuries on campus, according to the campus police department and the risk management coordinator. However, there have been reports of individuals being injured and at least two fatalities in Dallas and Washington, D.C.
Neither of the companies responded to requests for interviews.
For information, visit www.bird.co or www.li.me/electric-scooter.