E-scooters are zooming onto campus

E-scooters will soon be available for rental on the CSU campus and in Fort Collins within the next month. Photo by Jennifer Dimas

The electronic scooter – or e-scooter – is a growing trend nationwide as an exciting, economical, and environmentally friendly means of mobility.

If you have always wanted to hop on an e-scooter and see what the fuss is all about, grab your helmet and get ready to merge into campus bike lane traffic: Within the next month, e-scooters will be available for rent on the Colorado State University campus and throughout Fort Collins. Through a one-year pilot program involving CSU, the city and a major national e-scooter company, several hundred scooters will be available to rent on and off campus.

In many American cities, e-scooter companies have stealthily dropped scooters onto the market without consulting authorities or creating an opportunity to establish rules and regulations ahead of time. The result has often been uneducated renters who ride unsafely and dump scooters in roadways, on sidewalks, or in front yards, and city officials scrambling to bring order to the situation.

Fort Collins and CSU took a much different approach. Representatives from both the city and the university have spent months researching e-scooter company policies; examining renting, riding, and parking logistics; and establishing rules that must be followed by riders. They also partnered on the contract to ensure that one e-scooter company serves both the city and CSU campuses and are planning to announce the company in the next several weeks.

“What sets CSU and the City of Fort Collins apart from other communities is that we work collaboratively, and we are able to leverage the benefits that come with investing in one contract together,” said Aaron Fodge, CSU’s alternative transportation manager.

Rules for use on campus

CSU bike lane
People riding e-scooters must follow the rules of the road and are not permitted on campus sidewalks.

Privately owned e-scooters have already started popping up on campus, and more are expected as students return for the school year. Fodge said it is important that owners realize there are strict rules regarding their use, and some of the rules for riding on campus are different from those in the city.

Specifically, e-scooters are not allowed on campus sidewalks, riders must obey rules of the road and dismount zones, and privately owned e-scooters must be registered with the CSU Police Department. E-scooters are not allowed in any campus buildings – including residence halls – for storage or charging, nor are they allowed on city buses, including MAX and Around the Horn. Privately owned e-scooters should be locked to a campus bike rack when not in use. There will be drop locations near transit stops for public e-scooters.

Although the city and CSU have partnered on the rental pilot program, Fodge pointed out that there are a few differences in regulations between the two entities, including that although the scooters will be allowed on some city sidewalks, they will not be allowed on any sidewalks at CSU. Additionally, e-scooters may use bike trails on campus, but are not allowed on city bike trails off campus.

“We also are working with the company to shut the e-scooters off when the rider gets to a posted campus dismount zone, and they will not operate on campus during nighttime hours or during inclement weather,” he added. “We’re still working out some of the details about when they will be turned off for the night and on again in the morning, but we will let students, employees and visitors know when those decisions are made.”

Safety first

CSU Police Chief Scott Harris believes the arrival of e-scooters offers a good opportunity to educate students, employees, and visitors to campus on the rules of the road – not just for e-scooters, but for bikes, skateboards, and other powered devices including e-skateboards and e-bikes.

“E-scooters will be a convenient way to get across campus – and we want everyone’s experience to also be safe. The most important rule of thumb: Instead of riding an e-scooter on campus, think of it as driving an e-scooter,” he said. “Traffic laws – stopping at stop signs and lights, yielding right of way to pedestrians, obeying speed limits at slow zones, staying off sidewalks – all apply to e-scooters on campus.”

“E-scooters will be a convenient way to get across campus – and we want everyone’s experience to also be safe.”

—CSU Police Chief Scott Harris

To rent an e-scooter, the user will download a phone app to view a map showing where scooters are available. The user unlocks the e-scooter after entering a payment method on the app and agreeing that the user is 18 or older, will obey local laws, will ride safely and not under the influence, and will park the e-scooter properly after each ride.

Although helmets are not required by Colorado law, CSU, city of Fort Collins, and the e-scooter company all strongly recommend that riders wear one. To encourage helmet use, the company will give away more than 3,000 helmets during on-campus e-scooter events.

E-scooter rules of the road

E-Scooters ARE:

  • Allowed on bike trails and in bike lanes on campus
  • Required to follow all campus traffic laws and regulations
  • Required to stop at stop signs
  • Required to use hand signals to signal direction
  • Required to be slowed to 8 mph in Slow Zones and walked through Dismount Zones on campus
  • Required to be registered with CSUPD if personally owned
  • Required to be parked upright at bike racks or designated scooter parking areas
  • Fun and convenient – when ridden legally and safely!

E-Scooters are NOT:

  • Allowed on campus sidewalks
  • Allowed inside campus buildings – either for storage or charging
  • Allowed on city bike trails off campus
  • Immune from traffic regulations or fines
  • To be ridden through Dismount Zones
  • Allowed on city buses, including MAX and Around the Horn
  • To be ridden dangerously or carelessly

To report careless riding or disruptive parking of e-scooters, please call the CSU Police Department non-emergency line at (970) 491-6425.