How to Safely Use Micromobility on Campus
As the use of micromobility vehicles such as electric scooters and bicycles increases on campus, so do safety concerns.
Oct 05, 2023
Usage of micromobility vehicles on campus has drastically increased since 2019, according to Capt. Marcus Walton of the Georgia Tech Police Department (GTPD). In 2023 alone, nearly 100 students have been seen at Stamps Health Services with injuries from scooter-related accidents.
Rules of the Road
In keeping with its mission to protect the campus community, GTPD is expanding its education efforts to ensure that users understand the rules of the road, primarily that operating a micromobility vehicle — defined as bicycles, electric bicycles, electric scooters, and electric skateboards — carries many of the same responsibilities as a car.
- Micromobility vehicles are considered to be vehicles by state law and cannot be used on sidewalks or in pedestrian crosswalks. If you are crossing the street with a micromobility vehicle, you should step off and walk it across the crosswalk.
- When operating a micromobility vehicle, you must follow the rules of the road, obeying posted signs, traffic lights, and emergency personnel.
- You must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
- Georgia’s hands-free law also applies to micromobility vehicles, meaning you cannot use your cellphone while riding.
- Operating micromobility vehicles under the influence can result in DUI charges.
- Park your micromobility vehicle near a bike rack and away from the street or walkways.
Posted speed limits apply to micromobility vehicles, and while most do not reach high speeds, Capt. Walton said the department has observed students adding extra voltage to scooters and e-bikes to increase speed.
“We don’t put anything past our engineers,” he said.
The ordinances that govern the use of these vehicles on campus are not developed by Georgia Tech but rather by the City of Atlanta, meaning violations carry the same penalty as most traffic tickets.
“We want students to know that the exact violation you’re committing is the exact violation that a car would commit, and the fine is the same price. If you fail to stop at a stop sign in a vehicle, it would cost you about $250 a ticket. It is the same if you do it on a scooter or a bicycle,” he said.
GTPD hopes to use education to promote safety. In addition to expanding its Communications team, GTPD is coordinating conversations with campus organizations and departments to reach students, faculty, and staff. A comprehensive campus education plan is also in the works that will promote micro-mobility safety year-round online and across campus with digital and physical signage.
Propel ATL’s Georgia Tech Community courses offer cyclists of all skill levels the opportunity to learn the rules of the road in a safe and supportive environment. Learn more.
Capt. Walton emphasized that all campus community members, including faculty and staff, must abide by the law and are subject to citation. Whether you’re new to micromobility or an experienced rider, keep these safety tips in mind.
- Wear a helmet. Capt. Walton noted that in most accidents, riders were not wearing protective headgear.
- Do not ride distracted. Do not use your phone or listen to music and make sure you can hear the environment around you.
- Watch for Stinger buses pulling away from curbs.
- Do not ride with two people on one scooter or bike.
- At night, make sure your micromobility vehicle has a front light and a reflective red light on the back, and wear reflective clothing.
- Register your scooter with GTPD so that owners can be contacted if a scooter is blocking access or is stolen and recovered.
Drivers have the responsibility of sharing the road with micromobility users. Only pass a micromobility user if there is at least 3 feet of clearance. Drivers should regularly check mirrors and blind spots to avoid potential accidents.
To limit speeding and aggressive driving, GTPD purchased 14 radar speed detection signs earlier this year, and the data collected could eventually lead to reduced speed limits on campus as the Institute’s infrastructure becomes increasingly micromobility-friendly.
Parking and Transportation Services similarly encourages the safe use of micromobility vehicles on campus, offering a free safety class for members of the Tech community. After completing the course, participants receive a free helmet. Helmets can also be purchased from the department for $12.
For additional information regarding micromobility safety on campus, visit GTPD’s website.
Steven Gagliano – Communications Officer
Biketober has arrived, and throughout the month, Propel ATL will host a variety of events for new and experienced cyclists with learning opportunities, friendly competition, and chances to win prizes. Learn more.