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Electric scooters expected to return to campus

NMSU brought Spin electric scooters to campus last semester for a trial period and they were an instant hit, but when the fall 2019 semester started, students were quick to notice the scooters were missing.

Four electric Spin scooters sit parked on the sidewalk outside of the Barnes & Noble at New Mexico State University on Feb. 22, 2019. (Photo by Jessica Fernandez/Kokopelli)

According to Deputy Chief Andy Bowen of the NMSU police department, there were several incidents in which riders were injured while riding the Spin scooters, but that was not the ultimate reason for the scooters leaving campus. The scooters were taken off campus because the trial period agreed to by the Associated Students of NMSU and the Spin scooter and bicycle-sharing company came to an end.

Bowen said that the total number of scooter-related injuries is unknown due to some riders not reporting accidents and seeking medical attention on their own. Bowen also talked about how some riders were not following the rules and would leave the Spin scooters blocking roadway traffic.

There were also reports that students would take the scooters into their dorm rooms and would leave them blocking sidewalks. There were also complaints of abandoned scooters blocking doorways to buildings. Bowen said he could not confirm whether the scooters caused any traffic accidents.

ASNMSU president Evan Conner said that the scooters will be returning, but the precise date is unknown at this time.

“The university is still in the process of finalizing the selected vendor to provide [scooter] services on campus,” Conner said.

The scooters were a huge hit with students when they first debuted on campus, and many students would use them to get to class when running late. There were, however, some instances in which students were injured, even while riding the scooters correctly.

NMSU student Marianna Gutierrez Navarro, 22, was riding one of the scooters last semester when she hit a rock and fell off. Navarro was riding the scooter correctly with both hands on the handle bars, but when the wheels hit a small rock her world came crashing down.

In an attempt to catch herself, Navarro cut up her hand and her wrist swelled up. Her knees also got scraped up and she still has the scar from the accident today. After the accident, Navarro chose not to ride the scooters again.

“The scooter went really fast and I followed all the rules for the scooters,” Navarro said, “but even following the safety standards, I fell off and hurt myself.”

The scooters were put on campus as an alternative way for students to get to class. The scooters also helped students navigate campus a little easier, especially those who parked far away or were running late to class.

The scooters could be accessed via mobile device and cost a couple dollars to ride. Riders had to download a mobile app and then scan the QR code located on the scooters’ handlebars. Once the code was scanned, the rider would enter payment information and the app would track how long the ride lasted.

It is currently unknown if the scooters that will be brought to campus will be the same ones that were used for the trial period last semester. They may be from a different company. ASNMSU leaders are still talking to different vendors. The biggest concern going forward, according to NMSU safety officials, is that the scooters be operated in accordance with all applicable state and local laws.

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