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UT cracks down on scooter speeds with geofencing

New virtual perimeters will be implemented around the UT campus where scooters can accelerate a maximum of 8 mph.

AUSTIN, Texas — 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 Tuesday, 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.

The 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 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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According to the email sent to students, the university has been working with Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) to create parameters around scooter use on campus and has been working closely with scooter companies to govern scooter acceleration as precautionary measures designed for the safety of everyone on campus. 

PTS and the scooter companies remind users to remain mindful of their surroundings when operating scooters and encourage these tips:

  • Wear helmets and follow other safety guidance
  • Follow road rules
  • Be aware of geofencing areas
  • Operate at a low speed in the presence of pedestrians
  • Ride scooters only where bicycle traffic is allowed
  • Park in designated areas or at bicycle racks


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