After being introduced to downtown Colorado Springs two years ago, abandoned electric scooters have found their way to UCCS, but the campus is not permitted to use them.
The electric scooters come from Lime Micromobility, a transportation company that runs electric scooters, bikes and mopeds in various cities around the world.
Director of sustainability Konrad Schlarbaum provided further insight and information about these scooters, their effects on sustainability and what other roles people-powered transportation plays on campus.
Schlarbaum said the campus is in a zone where the Lime scooters should shut down, meaning the campus isn’t permitted to use them.
“[The] scooters use a geofencing technology where they’re supposed to shut down if you ride through these zones, or they get severely fined,” Schlarbaum said.
The geotagging technology used for these scooters protects ecologically sensitive areas. If the scooters are abandoned in the areas, they are quickly retrieved because the lithium ion batteries that power the scooters poses a threat to wherever they are left or stored.
The batteries can take over 100 years to decompose, and they can catch fire when disposed of improperly. They are also toxic to ecosystems and contaminate water supplies if they spill out over landfills.
In the case of illegal parking, the company’s website has a submission report subsection. UCCS has been in contact with their liaison to report any abandoned scooters left on campus, but UCCS is not allowed to remove them due to liability concerns.
Schlarbaum said that while the e-scooters can be considered a disruption to surrounding pedestrians and pose potential environmental risks, they can provide accessibility for commuters when paired with other forms of transportation if they are properly regulated.
“I will say that e-scooters are important in terms of micro mobility with what we call the last mile — How do you get from your bus stop to your house or to your apartment complex? An e-scooter [or] a bike would help you get there a lot faster than walking,” Schlarbaum said.
Though Lime bikes are not expected to be integrated into the UCCS campus, the Office of Sustainability, with the support of the Green Action Fund, is continuing to provide alternative modes of transit on campus.
Students who are interested in getting more information on ways to get to campus besides driving can visit the parking and transportation website.
Lime scooters can be located at parking points around campus, mainly between intersections and by Alpine Garage. (Photo by Megan M)