Scooters block paths for individuals with disabilities

The Lantern
Many Ohio State students use scooters a form of transportation to get around quickly on campus, but they are often found in miscellaneous spots on campus. Credit: Caleb Blake | Photo Editor

More than 600 electric scooters are used on the Ohio State campus every day, and students, faculty and staff with disabilities face issues when they are left in pathways.

E-scooter riders are required to park scooters next to a bike rack or in a designated scooter parking zone to ensure that pathways, curb cuts, ramps and building entry points are unblocked, Nicole Holman, assistant director of marketing and communications in the Office of Administration and Planning, said.

Aubrie Brandon, a third-year in social work who uses a wheelchair, said the e-scooters are a frequent pain.

“They’re extremely difficult to get around,” Brandon said. “A lot of times, they’ll be in the middle of sidewalks or right at a curb, cut on a corner or parked in kind of a little cove off the side of a building, typically where the accessible entrance is, and it’s in front of the door button.”

Holman said in 2022, 503,844 e-scooter rides began or ended on campus.

Frank Portman, a fourth-year in physics engineering and co-president and access audit coordinator of Buckeyes for Accessibility, said pathways may already be limited for people with disabilities, and any blockage can add extra inconvenience or time to a person’s commute.

“A lot of students who use those scooters don’t necessarily understand how detrimental the unpredictability in that access barrier can be for some students,” Portman said.

Many students do not feel accountable for their actions, Amrita Dhar, an assistant professor of English and a member of the disability studies program, said. That lack of accountability leads them to park e-scooters wherever it is most convenient for them, even though it may burden others.

“Should you know better than to do [what’s] wrong?” Dhar asked. “That kind of thing is community accountability.”

Julia Parachini, a third-year in health sciences and co-president of Buckeyes for Accessibility, said the university should provide more training for students to respect the needs of individuals with disabilities.

“[Ohio State] as an entity to communicate with students can do a very significant amount,” Parachini said.

Dave Isaacs, communications and media relations manager in the Office of Student Life, said he could not provide the number of students who are registered with Student Life Disability Services because not all disabilities can be applied to the issue of e-scooters.

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