There is a rising population of students riding scooters around campus. Scooters, originally used as methods of transportation for football players during preseason, have risen in popularity that now extends beyond the team.
To find out more about the phenomenon, I spoke with TJ Rothmann ’21, a linebacker for the College’s football team. He has been riding a scooter since preseason training and sees it as a functional mode of transportation across campus. For one, it helped with fatigue after football training; instead of having to walk all the way back from the football fields after an exhausting practice, players could unwind and enjoy riding scooters instead. Another draw was ease of access. “It was mainly a logistical thing, and now they are just so easy and cheap. They’re cheaper than buying a bike,” Rothmann said.
For students who prefer not to ride a bike, scooters provide a suitable alternative. They are small and easy to ride. Scooters also fold easily, avoiding the hassle of locking and unlocking a bike. Tire pressure is not an issue since the wheels used on scooters are solid, and the handlebars allow for more stable riding when compared to a skateboard. Scooters can be purchased online for as little as 35 dollars, making them a wallet-friendly alternative to bikes and skateboards as well.
According to Rothmann, however, riding a scooter is not always the best option. “The first time I rode in the rain I absolutely wiped out. It was a slick surface. I went around a turn going toward Mission, and I just wiped out,” he said.
Hills can pose a challenge as well. “A sophomore football player was going down Mission Hill once, hit a bump and wiped out,” Rothmann said. “CSS [Campus Safety and Security] got called. He was fine!”
Ice and snow conditions during the winter also may cause issues for scooter riders in the coming months.
Rothmann also emphasized that scooters are not limited to the football team. To learn more about scooter riders who are not members of the football team, I spoke with Peter Barry ’21. He decided to purchase a scooter for reasons similar to Rothmann.
“I decided to ride a scooter because I had seen people riding them at my older siblings’ colleges and always thought it looked fun, and when I got here I realized it would also be really practical because walking across campus can take 10 minutes and gets boring. As a non-football player, my friends will make jokes along the lines of, ‘Oh I didn’t know you played football!’, but it’s funny. Scooters are way too efficient to not take advantage of,” Barry said.
Scootering undeniably has increased in popularity on campus, especially among the first-year class. A trend spotted on other college campuses as well, the popularity of scooters seems to emerge from their efficiency in travel, easy storage and low-maintenance upkeep. They make rushing to a 9:00 am class slightly more bearable – and perhaps even fun!