Scooters Cause Accessibility Issues for Disabled Students

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Over the past two months motorized scooters have become a common sight in Indianapolis, and seem to be especially popular here on the IUPUI campus. The ubiquity of the scooters has provided an easily accessible and zippy transportation alternative for those looking to make long treks across campus a little easier on their feet, but the scooters do have have their drawbacks.

In the short amount of time the scooters have been on campus, riders have been seen weaving in between pedestrians on sidewalks, barreling through crosswalks, and scooters have been abandoned in front of entrances, in parking spots, and perhaps most annoyingly, right in the middle of a busy sidewalk.

What some people may fail to consider, however, is that not all IUPUI students are capable of doing something as simple as picking one of the scooters up and moving it out of the way.

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Scooters have made their way to campus...and are causing some problems for students.


Kevin McCracken, Director of Adaptive Educational Services at IUPUI, advocates for disabled students on campus. He also wants others to understand the issues they may create by leaving their scooters in inconvenient places.

“I think the scooters look really fun,” he said. “They’re no more of a threat than skateboards or bicycles, but you never find those in the middle of the walkway or obstructing traffic.”

McCracken went on to offer examples of how the scooters could impede students with different disabilities on campus.

“Blind students navigate primarily from memory, so a scooter left in the middle of a walkway could be problematic,” he said. “If a scooter was left on a wheelchair ramp, the student would have to go out of their way to navigate around it.”

McCracken also had some advice for students who aren’t disabled in regards to what they can do to make life easier for disabled students.

“Park the scooters in places that are out of the way, or move them out of the way,” he said. “It’s not terribly difficult to be mindful of the challenges that students with mobility limitations face. Whether it’s physical or sensory, it’s not too difficult to figure out what their challenges are.

McCracken said he thinks Lime and Bird, the two scooter companies found in the city, could do something to alleviate the issues they’re causing, but isn’t holding out much hope.

“They could do something, yes, but they won’t,” he said. “Nothing against them--I admire the innovative and disruptive business model they’ve implemented, but part of their business model is that they’ve created a public nuisance. It’s a minor nuisance for the vast majority of people, but for students with mobility challenges, it can be a major nuisance.”


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