The electric scooters seen around campus are a first in Tulsa, but don’t come without their concerns.
Tulsa is in the midst of embracing the motorized scooter trend that’s been sweeping the nation. During the early morning hours of Oct. 26, Lime, an electric scooter company, dropped off roughly 100 motorized scooters downtown on 11th Street near the University of Tulsa and on Riverside. Students have been taking notice over the past week as the scooters found their way onto campus.
Lime is a company that provides motorized scooters and bikes in cities and on college campuses. The idea is for people to avoid using cars and instead take advantage of their ridesharing program.
To rent a scooter, you must download the Lime app. The app shows you the location of nearby scooters. When you find one, you scan the QR code or enter the number to unlock it. Hop on, push off, and after the accelerating mechanism kicks in, you’re off and running.
When you’re finished, you park and leave it for the next person to come along who wants to take it for a spin. The whole ride costs one dollar for the initial unlocking cost and an additional 50 cents for each mile.
It’s a concept that is gaining traction. According to the Lime website, they are operating in more than 100 markets. When they enter a new location, they drop off groups of scooters throughout the area. The current crop of 100 scooters in Tulsa are just the beginning, with the Tulsa World reporting that Lime has permits for 400 more.
Although TU is not listed as one of Lime’s partner universities, students have been using the Tulsa scooters to get around on campus.
TU is not the first campus in Oklahoma to feature Limes as Oklahoma State University had them at their Stillwater campus. However, a Campus Alert went out to all students on Oct. 15 that recalled the scooters.
The email read, “Due to safety concerns and permitting issues Oklahoma State University has notified scooter rental companies they must remove their vehicles from the OSU-Stillwater campus.”
OSU’s safety concerns are well-founded, as Lime scooters do not come with helmets. Lime’s website strongly recommends wearing a helmet, but most users opt not to simply because they don’t have one on hand.
Riders can also be a hazard to pedestrians. The scooters are fast, and inexperienced riders may have a hard time maneuvering around pedestrians. These concerns are heightened when riders are on a crowded walkway.
In addition, Lime has had to recall a large number of scooters after learning that the batteries could catch fire. The recalls happened in Los Angeles, San Diego and Lake Tahoe according to a CNN report.
Several Tulsans have already reported injuries since the scooters’ arrival on Oct. 26. KTUL reported Hillcrest Medical Center ER physician Craig Kennedy as saying they had seen at least two patients with scooter-related injuries.
What does this mean for the future of scooters in Tulsa? The local government has tried to ensure the safety of the public while bringing this fun trend to the city. The Tulsa World reported that before issuing the permits to Lime, the city of Tulsa first required the company to perform a safety demonstration If people know the safety guides and follow them, injuries should be prevented.
For TU students, the administration hasn’t said anything against the scooters, and students seem content using them around campus. Lime is not the only motorized scooter company on campus, as there has been an eyewitness report of Bird scooters appearing on 11th Street as well.