Many students choose alternative forms of transportation besides walking to get from class to class on a campus as big as LSU. Students can be seen skateboarding, biking, riding the bus and now, riding electric scooters.
The electric scooter trend is thought to have been started by an LSU student athlete who had a difficult time getting from practice to class, and then back to practice.
International trade and finance freshman Natalie Martin thinks the trend quickly became popular because it simplifies students’ commutes around campus.
“I think one person got it, and since we all know each other it just became a trend,” Martin said. “Now, more and more people have them because it’s such a good idea, and it’s easy to get around.”
Martin plays beach volleyball for LSU and said the scooters help her get from her classes in the Business Education Complex to practice quicker than the 30-minute walk it would normally take.
Aside from getting to class and practice quickly, Martin said, the scooters are also beneficial for injured athletes.
“Our trainers like them,” Martin said. “When we have injuries, it helps us stay off of our injuries. My trainer was going to put me in a boot for a toe injury, but she let me not have it since I have the scooter because I don’t have to walk around very much.”
Popular brands of scooters on campus include the Swagtron and Gotrax, both with prices in the $250-$300 range. The price is what prevents some students from purchasing the scooters.
Interdisciplinary studies junior Caleb Starks said his friends use scooters to travel around campus, but he doesn’t because of the price.
“It costs like $300, and I don’t want to spend that,” Starks said.
Business administration sophomore Allison Coens said the price did not steer her away from buying an electric scooter because she knew the reward of saving time on campus outweighed the price.
Coens uses her scooter to get across campus, but acknowledged scooters could pose safety risks, especially if students are new to riding scooters. She said she tries to stay out of pedestrians’ way and plans her routes ahead of time to stay safe on her scooter.
Marketing freshman Emma Robbins said the scooters are easy to ride and she has never fallen off, but some coaches have safety concerns for students who use them.
“All the coaches are like, ‘You better be careful,’” Robbins said.
A similar trend occurred at the University in late 2015, when many students began using self-balancing electric scooters, known as hoverboards, to travel around campus.
Following a collaboration between the University’s administration, risk management, safety department and environmental health services departments, the University banned the use of hoverboards in on-campus buildings in December 2015, citing recent news reports detailing the devices’ batteries catching fire.
The University has yet to make a statement on the electric scooters specifically. According to a statement via email from LSU Media Relations Director Ernie Ballard, the University asks everyone to use caution when commuting on campus.
“As we are seeing more students using electric scooters and motorized skateboards on campus, the University is beginning to evaluate how these are being used and will be studying any potential concerns with them,”