August 8, 2019

Scooter use could increase soon; rules in place to help riders, others

Use of scooters and other electric or motor powered vehicles (EMPVs) may increase in the near future as scooters are deployed on and near Purdue’s West Lafayette campus.

The City of West Lafayette has approved Spin and Gotcha Mobility as scooter vendors. Spin already has brought scooters to locations throughout the city and campus, and Gotcha Mobility intends to supply devices in the vicinity soon.

“We know that scooters are a popular transit option for the campus community,” said Ben Dispennett, director of Parking and Transportation Services. “We urge users to review rules and regulations, parking restrictions and safety measures prior to operating one.” 

Scooters and EMPVs are to be ridden following the same rules that apply to bicycles. A summary of rules are included below, and complete details are listed in Purdue’s Traffic and Parking Regulations.

  • Operate EMPVs only on streets or bicycle/shared-use paths. In some areas of campus with increased pedestrian traffic, devices must be dismounted and “walked” where posted.
  • Yield to pedestrians.
  • Obey stop signs and traffic signals.
  • Use hand signals to alert others of the intent to turn or stop.
  • Obey speed limits. Unless posted otherwise, the speed limit on campus streets is 20 miles per hour.
  • Follow the direction of traffic.
  • Use a mounted white light on the front of the vehicle at dawn, dusk or night.

As is the case with motor vehicles, operating a scooter under the influence of alcohol is prohibited throughout West Lafayette, including Purdue’s campus.

In addition, scooters may only be parked in specific areas in order to maintain facility access, mobility and traffic flow. Parking is limited to either bicycle racks or designated zones that are noted in each approved scooter company’s mobile app. City parking locations are available in a PDF file, and campus parking is shown using an online map. Locations are subject to change based on use data. Scooters and EMPVs may not be attached to campus facilities, landmarks or landscaping.

Riders are encouraged to wear a helmet to help reduce potential injuries and reflective clothing to increase their visibility to others while operating electric or motor powered vehicles. Those who have personal items to transport should wear and use a backpack to distribute the weight more evenly and maintain use of both hands for optimal signaling and control.

“Of course, one of the biggest ways to promote safety of self and others is to refrain from using cell phones or other devices while operating any mode of transportation,” said Purdue Police Chief John Cox. “When cars, scooters, bikes and people are in close proximity to each other -- as they are on and near the West Lafayette campus -- complete attention to surroundings is imperative.”   

Each approved scooter company sets its own pricing and does not have a direct affiliation or contract with Purdue.  

Questions about EMPV usage at Purdue may be directed to Aaron Madrid, alternative transportation coordinator, at madrida@purdue.edu.


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