Sales of adult-sized scooters are skyrocketing across the country, the Wall Street Journal reported — and the trend isn't lost on Penn students.
Over the past few semesters, there has been a surge in the number of students who choose to get from class to class on wheels. However, many of them say they aren't sure of the rules that determine where and when they are allowed to ride their scooters.
Bicycles are restricted for use only in certain places on campus and at certain times, according to policies from the Division of Public Safety. Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush said this bike policy is generalized to include skateboards and scooters, but online versions of these policies do not include any language about skateboards or scooters. Rush added that DPS holds “Share the Road” campaigns several times every year to publicize information relevant to those with bikes, skateboards and scooters.
Around Locust Walk and Hamilton Walk, signage explicitly bans skateboards and scooters. But elsewhere on campus, the lack of communication of Penn policy and a reportedly inconsistent enforcement of these rules has led to confusion.
College junior and Vice President of the Undergraduate Assembly Jay Shah said he got his scooter after his freshman year “because of the crazy walk from the high rises to [David Rittenhouse Laboratory] and the chem building.” He has been told to step off his skateboard, he said, but only inconsistently.
“It depends on the person,” he said. “Some of them just don’t care and some of them do.”
College freshman Kia DaSilva, who commutes to classes from her family’s home in West Philadelphia on her scooter, said she did research on Penn policy before buying her scooter.
“I looked up all the rules online before I bought my new scooter and made sure that it was okay,” she said.
College freshman Nico Tapiero learned to ride his skateboard a few weeks before the fall semester began, planning to use it to travel from class to class at Penn. Tapiero is usually able to skate down Locust Walk without any trouble, but one night early in the semester a Penn public safety official asked him to step off his skateboard, he said.
“There was nobody in sight and I was not violating any policy but he still asked me not to skate there,” Tapiero said.
College freshman Sam Goldstein had a similar experience. Goldstein, who has been an avid skateboarder since he was in middle school, was told to step off his skateboard near Williams Hall in the Perelman Quadrangle. However, he said he recognized why he was stopped because there is signage banning skateboarding in the area.
“They’re not really strict about it but there are signs [in the the Perelman Quadrangle] which say you can’t skate,” he said.
Engineering and Wharton freshman Yan Li has been stopped twice for riding his skateboard and said he hopes policies will be clarified for skateboard and scooter riders.
“There’s a reason why there are rules for bike riding,” Li said. “Of course there needs to be rules for skateboards too.”
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