Students, adminstrators weigh in on Spin scooters
USC Aiken recently made a new addition to the campus with the Spin Scooters. A recent poll on Thursday, August 29, with the students on the USCA Student Life page on Facebook illustrated the student opinions on the scooters' presence.
Over the first 12 hours, 75 students responded to the poll. Of the 75 that responded, 38.67% believe that the scooters are a welcome addition to the campus. The remaining 61.33% disagree.
The final count saw 138 votes total, including 37.7% disagreement, 52.2% agreement and 10.1% other.
The primary concerns of the students appeared to be safety, cost and parking.
“Why pay to ride something for a quick commute?” Tyjaha Steele commented.
“I don’t think they are a good idea. The $10 down payment is kind of crazy, but not only that [sic] there are several people who have already fallen and really hurt themselves,” said Taylor Drennen. “We were told that we could take them all the way to Walmart...who will be held liable if someone gets hit by a car? No students were made to sign a waiver.”
A link to the website was provided in the initial email sent out by Ahmed Samaha, Vice-Chancellor of Student Life and Services. On the Spin website proper techniques and cautions are also detailed.
“When you are riding near bigger and faster vehicles, remember that staying visible is the most important factor in preventing a crash.”
The website also cautions riders on sidewalks.
“Riding on the sidewalk can involve different risks than riding on the street. Drivers don’t expect fast moving vehicles to be on sidewalks, so be very careful any time you are riding in front of a driveway, parking lot access, parking garage entrance, or entering a crosswalk.”
The safety rules also require users to be at least 18 years old and to have “a valid driver license.”
Regarding cost, students voiced their concern on the possibility that USCA used tuition fees to pay for the scooters and is receiving money from the down payment and 15 cents per-minute charge.
Another option was added to the poll by a student: “I’m annoyed my tuition/money [sic] I pay them monthly went toward scooters. It could have went [sic] to much more ACADEMIC things.”
Ross Philbeck, Assistant Director of Campus Recreation & Wellness, and Ahmed Samaha, Vice Chancellor for Student Life and Services, clarified the ongoing concern of the students in email correspondence.
“The University is not paying any money for the scooters or the upkeep,” said Samaha. “The scooters were always intended to be rented by the riders and they were never going to be free.”
“There is no money exchanged between Spin and USCA,” added Philbeck. “USCA and Spin signed an agreement that allows them to operate on campus.”
This statement coincides with Spin’s policy: “Spin covers 100% of equipment, marketing, and operational costs.”
“I am not sure where the miscommunication was and I apologize for that,” said Ahmed Samaha, apologizing for the misconception regarding tuition money being used.
Along with addressing cost concerns, students commented on their concern over safety, especially in the parking lots.
“I almost hit someone with my car this morning because they were using the scooter to drive between the two solid yellow lines,” said Sarah Rebecca Shealy.
Payton Lord also expressed her concern: “People are playing on them too much instead of taking their safety and others seriously. On the first day of class I witnessed an entire group of guys (about 6 of them) popping wheelies on the scooters. It’s almost asking for an accident.”
Philbeck responded to the parking issue by discussing the guidelines of both USCA rules and Spin rules “Scooters are not supposed to be parked in parking spaces. But it is responsibility [sic] of the user to follow the parking guidelines. However we have and will continue to send out social media post[s] and emails to help educate the campus community about how to safely operate and park the scooters. There is also a number on each scooter that you can text or call to report improper parking.”
Some students responded to the scooters with positive feedback.
“The scooters are there for easy mobility and you only pay 15 cent per minute while riding which is not bad,” wrote David Stanley. “also spin has student workers on campus who picks up the scooter parked in wrong places during the day and place them in the appropriate spots. I believe it is a positive thing to have on campus and with time many will appreciate it.”
“I personally enjoy it,” agreed Marie Tormala. “I usually ride it for fun or with friends. I’ll occasionally drive it if I have to go back and forth between building[s] to get paperwork done quicker then walking so I’ll pause the ride which is fine with me.”
The decision to bring the scooters on campus was the acknowledgment of the transportation issues and walking times students had on campus. Philbeck stated that the scooters presented an opportunity to resolve these issues.
Student Body President Q’Ladrin Quorters expressed her and the Student Government Association’s sentiment for the scooters.
“The Spin Scooters are an exciting and beneficial addition to the USCA campus and to the community,” she said. “SGA encourages students to read the user’s manual to properly ride and how to stay safe when riding. I personally really enjoy the scooters and I think everyone should take a 'spin' on it!"
Photo by Sports Editor Michael Kuras.