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  • Writer's pictureLa Voz Latina

This isn't Fast and Furious: Campus' latest trend

Written by: Maximo Legaspi 🇵🇭

An electric scooter near Cambridge Hall at the University of Maryland on March 15, 2024. (Isai Amaya-Diaz)

Put yourself into the shoes of a tired student at UMD. You just came out of a grueling lecture, the professor droned on for hours, and all you want is to get out of that stinky lecture hall and back into your nice, comfortable bed. 

As you walk out of the building, you slide in a singular earbud, intent on listening to your comfort music while still maintaining a sense of spatial awareness. 

Strolling down the sidewalk, you hear a strange noise. A whirring sound, that, with every step you take, gets eerily closer. You only realize what it is until it is too late. A Veo scooter, going full blast down the crowded sidewalk, nearly knocks you over. 

As they speed away, you see the driver has both headphones in at maximum volume, eyes somehow locked to the road while simultaneously seeing nothing in front of them. 

The scourge of electric scooters and other various micro mobility vehicles have made their way to the headlines yet again, as one burst into flames in the lobby of La Plata Hall just weeks ago. Days later, an electric skateboard caught on fire outside of the computer science building. 

Additionally, complaints abound surrounding the careless nature of scooter users, citing high speeds in densely packed pedestrian traffic.

At first sight, electric micro mobility vehicles only provide benefits. Requiring no pedaling or movement from the user outside of activating the engine, it allows those with mobility issues to get across campus easily. The electric nature provides a relative sense of eco-friendliness, and the light frame allows for portability and ease of storage.

Even with the benefits, micro mobility vehicles often cause headaches for many around campus. The story at the beginning, fictional as it may be, is still a common sight. Ask any student if they’ve ever had a close encounter with a scooter, and there’s a good chance they have. 

Taking the path of most resistance, the scooters often barely manage to make their way to the other side of the road without hitting anyone, surprisingly. The high speeds of the scooters, combined with a lack of much physical action by the user to increase speed, lead to reckless and carefree driving, endangering pedestrians.

The nuisances go beyond risking getting a scraped knee after a collision with a scooter. With the university prohibiting electric micro mobility vehicles from being stored inside residence halls after the fires at La Plata and Iribe, many have resorted to locking their scooters onto bike racks, preventing many bikers from locking their own bikes up.

Additionally, Veo users will often leave their scooters in bike racks after use. While it is preferable to simply tossing them to the side, again, it creates another nuisance for bikers, who now have to move the scooters out of the way. Parking for bikes is already an issue on campus, and the scooters exacerbate it.

Perhaps the issues people attribute to the scooters are problems that involve more than just the scooters. 

Does the university need to overhaul the roads on and around campus, making the area more accessible by foot and smaller vehicles? 

Does the constant construction create more obstacles in moving around campus? 

Does the university need to provide more space for bike racks, and dedicated areas for electric micro mobility vehicles to minimize crowding? 


Still, it is impossible to ignore the headaches that many electric micro mobility vehicles create, especially when in the often not-so capable hands of their operators. The act of prohibiting them inside dorms and other buildings is a good step in the right direction, yet more can still be done, especially on the part of students. 

Yes, it is bad that you are already late to class, but do you need to nearly run over half of the people on the sidewalk to get there? Do you absolutely have to have both AirPods in? Remember that you share the sidewalk with everyone else, and leave the high speeds and maneuvering in the Fast and Furious movies.

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