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As Harvard College Puts the Brakes on Scooter Use, Undergrads Feel Kicked to the Curb

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As Harvard College doubles down on its restrictions for the usage of bicycles, scooters, and other micromobility devices, some undergraduates are frustrated with security and convenience challenges brought on by the policy.

The College’s 2022-23 student handbook prohibits students from riding micromobility devices — lightweight personal transportation vehicles like bicycles, roller blades, skateboards, and scooters — “in Harvard Yard, in Harvard-owned or operated buildings, or on sidewalks or other walkways.”

While the policy has been in place since the beginning of the academic year, the College has recently upped its communication and enforcement of the restrictions. A Feb. 16 weekly update email from the College reminded students to park their scooters in “an appropriate location,” and the school has also posted related flyers on the doors of classroom buildings this month.

The handbook says Harvard “is developing” a University-wide micromobility policy and refers to the Transportation Services website, which outlines rules for the placement of parked devices.

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“Parked micromobility devices must not obstruct accessible pathways, building entrances/exits, driveways, fire safety equipment, or emergency egress paths,” it reads.

The policy defers to specific departments and building managers for questions of “scooter parking, charging, or overnight storage.”

Jack K. Silvers ’25, a Crimson Sports editor, said he finds the policy to be “unnecessary, harmful, and hypocritical.”

“I don’t think that scooters block entrances or exits,” he said. “I think Harvard probably just got one complaint, or someone’s scooter got stolen from inside, and then they wanted to clean up the hallways or something.”

Max H. Schermer ’24, a Crimson Design editor, said using a scooter is very helpful since he has back-to-back classes in the Science and Engineering Complex — located in Allston — and Harvard Yard.

Schermer said that he did expect the College to enact restrictions on micromobility devices due to a perceived increase in the number of scooters but “not this soon.”

“I do think that they can be a little more accommodating or at least have warned us about this because people need time to get locks,” Schermer said.

Samantha C. Sestak ’25 said she had her scooter stolen outside of the SEC after she was forced her to leave it outside without a lock.

Despite filing a police report for her stolen scooter, Sestak claimed the Harvard University Police Department told her she is unlikely to get it back.

“What the officer told me is that essentially I can count it as gone,” she said.

Before the policy was enforced, she said she had never experienced issues with storing her scooter indoors.

“I usually just try to make sure to store it not in front of entryways or places where people are walking,” she said. “As long as I’m respectful, I’ve never had any issues.”

According to public HUPD logs, seven bikes and scooters were reported as stolen between April 1 and April 12.

A spokesperson for the College said the school adapts to meet the needs of different facilities and has asked students to abide by signs posted about the policies.

Riley E. Jenne ’25 — who uses a scooter to travel between football practice, classes, and Mather House — said he has not been forced to change the use of his scooter.

“I still just bring mine inside. No one said anything to me about it. So far I’ve been fine with it,” he said.

—Staff writer Paton D. Roberts can be reached at paton.roberts@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter at @paton_dr.

—Staff writer Hana Rostami can be reached at hana.rostami@thecrimson.com.

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