The newest invasive species to hit South Florida is a flightless Bird. Unlike pythons and iguanas, Birds are silent, can move at fast speeds and prey on tired-eyed college students.
If you haven’t noticed, the dockless scooters can be seen whizzing through the breezeway at Green Library and inside dorms, most of the time with a beefy football player behind the wheel.
The glorified Ripsticks are controversial in other parts of the state—some cities have banned them entirely—because of injuries sustained by riders and pedestrians alike.
The laws around electric scooters are vague and—surprise—rarely obeyed. In some places, sidewalks are off limits while it’s encouraged to ride on them in others. On other U.S. campuses, they’re completely banned.
So where is the middle ground at FIU? A scooter/bike lane remnant of the Hollywood Beach boardwalk or a crackdown by FIU Police for speeding, reckless scootering or not wearing a helmet are some good options. Seeing a scooter chase would make campus more exciting.
Scooter fantasies aside, FIU needs to make sure that its students don’t turn into living speed bumps.
Bird scooters can reach up to 15 miles per hour and are completely silent, which can turn a walk through campus into an obstacle course, especially since riders aren’t taking the proper safety precautions.
As one of our columnists has pointed out before, students have expressed that there needs to be an initiative on behalf of Bird and FIU to educate riders on safety and regulate the use of these scooters.
To be clear, it isn’t the company’s—or even our University’s—fault that certain people are careless when driving their vehicles around campus. But there are things that can be done to prevent life-threatening incidents from occurring, like establishing speed limits, issuing traffic violations for students who drive scooters too fast and doubling down on the need for safety gear like helmets.
In the meantime, keep your eyes up and avoid these invasive black Birds. And if you’re driving one, slow down a bit.
Featured photo by Mack Male on Flickr.