Slowing The Roll

UT Austin asking electric scooter companies to slow their roll around campus

UT Austin asks electric scooter companies to slow their roll on campus

Uber Jump electric scooter
Companies like Bird and Lime have installed geofencing to reduce the bikes' speeds by about half. Courtesy photo

KVUE — Wary of speeding scooters on campus? Your prayers have been answered.

The University of Texas at Austin sent a notice to their students Monday morning to say beginning March 26, prominent scooter companies will use geofencing to implement a maximum acceleration of 8 mph on their scooters in defined areas of campus.

"I mean, you can kind of forget you are on a road with cars, people zip through, and it's dangerous," said Joseph Ovalle, a graduate student and teacher at the University of Texas.

He said the scooters are almost everywhere. "You hop on one of them, and you can get to class on time, and it's much easier," he said. "There's good and bad things."

Ovalle said seeing the scooters is already stressful. "I'm driving at 30 mph, and I don't see them in time, I might hit them," he said. "That, to me, is scary."

Ovalle likes the idea of lowering the scooter speed limit on campus.

The new virtual perimeters will be implemented around campus where scooters will max out at 8 mph instead of about 15 mph. This will be possible through geofencing, a virtual perimeter for a real-world geographical area.

The scooters already use a GPS system. The moment they cross a designated area on the map, they will slow down. Scooter companies include Bird, Jump, Lime, and Lyft.

This is not the first time UT has implemented new rules to govern new influx of scooters on campus.

Earlier this year, the university said it will start impounding scooters improperly parked along campus malls and those "blocking sidewalks, impeding pedestrian accessibility or strewn in courtyards, doorways, and stairwells," the email said.

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