UI bans electric bikes, scooters inside campus buildings

By Jessie Wang, Staff Writer

The University plans to enforce campus policies that prohibit electric bikes and electric scooters in campus buildings per fire codes and safety guidelines. 

One reason for doing so is because many devices are powered by lithium-ion batteries. According to the National Fire Protection Association, the batteries can pose a fire risk if not used correctly or damaged.

“Lithium-ion battery fires give off toxic gasses and they burn extremely hot,” the NFPA said. “Damaged or defective batteries can overheat, catch fire, or explode.”

Currently, in the section of the Campus Administrative Manual pertaining to transportation devices, “carrying, charging, storage, or other possession of Self-Balancing Personal Transportation Devices inside University Facilities is prohibited.”

A Self-Balancing Personal Transportation Device is defined as a wheeled device that includes an electric propulsion system, such as e-bikes, e-scooters and smart skateboards. 

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    Colton Woods, sophomore in Engineering, owns an electric skateboard and uses it four to five times a week to get to class. He said he doesn’t have another option besides bringing his skateboard with him.

    “If they’re really serious about (the policy), I probably wouldn’t use it to get to class because I don’t have any way of locking it up outside or putting it in storage anywhere,” Colton said. 

    Afnaan Afsar, sophomore in AHS, said she also usually takes her e-scooter to class or locks it up outside on the bike rack if there is no space. 

    She said so far, no one in class has said anything when she takes the scooter inside and voiced her concerns about theft. 

    “As long as it’s to the side, no one really cares,” Afsar said. “But I do think if I have to start locking it up outside … I would probably be less likely to take it to class because when I lock it up outside, I do feel a little nervous about people stealing it.” 

    Both Afsar and Woods have observed that electric transportation devices are prevalent on campus.

    “It’s not crazy common, but a lot of people do use them for sure,” Woods said. 

     

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