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Opinion: ASU should actually enforce its scooter ban

Despite having a ban in place, students are still harmed by e-scooters, and ASU needs to do more about it

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Spin electric scooters are lined up in Phoenix on Monday, Sept. 16, 2019.

ASU policy states that electric scooters and other motorized vehicles are prohibited on campus, a measure meant to prevent accidents. 

However, this ban hasn't been properly enforced, jeopardizing the safety of students all over campus, and ASU needs to do a better job of protecting them. 

Erin Levy, a freshman studying nursing who often commutes to the Tempe campus, said that although e-scooters are convenient ways to get around campus, they endanger students especially when they violate walk-only zones.

"There's a lot of people that don't follow the rules," Levy said. "And that's when it can get dangerous and start causing injuries."

Despite the fact that motorized vehicles are banned on campus outright, some ASU students continue to encounter dangerous situations with someone on an electric scooter or skateboard. The University has even continued to hold designated campus locations for scooter parking. 

READ MORE: Why can't you park Bird and Lime scooters on the Tempe campus anymore?

Annie Sonu, a sophomore studying business law, said a person riding an e-scooter ran into her when she was walking down E. Apache Boulevard. 

"He just slammed straight into me," Sonu said. "I got knocked back and fell onto the ground. He probably fell over too, but that knocked the wind out of me so hard. Ever since then, I'm really wary of people that go super fast on electric scooters and skateboards."

Although Apache Boulevard is adjacent to campus, it is an area where student housing is located so students being reckless on their motorized vehicles is still an issue.

E-scooters can reach speeds of 15 to 25 miles per hour, making their collision with pedestrians extremely dangerous. They're a big enough threat in Arizona to warrant their own warning page on law group consulting sites due to the rate of accidents.  

Although e-scooters can be a hazard to pedestrians, there are ways for students who ride them to minimize harm to those around them. This is an alternative for ASU if enforcing the ban entirely is unrealistic. 

Echo Lim, a junior studying psychology, is aware that students don't feel positively toward scooter users but makes sure to ride her scooter responsibly on campus.

"What I usually do is I put (the scooter) on safe mode. So that way the scooter itself goes to a certain amount of miles, but it doesn't go so fast that it’s zipping," Lim said. "I also try to ring my bell because it's good communication." 

However, even having students ride their motorized vehicles carefully is not enough to prevent accidents, especially in walk-only zones. It is ASU's responsibility to make sure its own policies are enforced and to also hold those with reckless behavior accountable.

"They (ASU) could work on making sure that if there are accidents that they take care of them right away." Levy said. "Keep the people accountable because they can go out and (continue to) do the same thing."

It is understandable that completely banning the usage of scooters is hard to regulate with how vast the Tempe campus is. In that case, changes to ASU policy can be done to help enforce campus safety.

Walk-only zones at ASU are enforced Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. No one can walk, drive or park any kind of wheeled-vehicle in certain zones, including Cady Mall, Tyler Mall, Hayden Mall, Orange Mall and Palm Walk. 

These locations are imposed by campus mall enforcement staff members who require students to walk their wheeled vehicles in the zone. Any student who violates it will receive a written warning. Continued infractions will lead to a second or third violation with a referral to the Dean of Students, Dean or Vice President.

One solution is for these three levels of violations to also apply to e-scooters and motorized skateboards, even if it is being walked by a student in the zone. Levy also suggested that the University or ASU PD fine students who have a motorized vehicle on campus.

"There could be speed limits around campus for scooters especially," Lim said.

If implementing the policy as is proves to be difficult, then it would be useful for ASU to tweak the rules to a realistic standard that they would be able to keep track of, and encourage students who do use motorized vehicles to be aware of their surroundings. 

Whether the University encourages students to be more responsible or enacts harsher punishments for violations of walk-only zones, it is needed to better protect student safety.

Edited by Mia Osmonbekov, Jasmine Kabiri and Grace Copperthite.

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Editor's note: The opinions presented in this column are the author's and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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