The University of Chicago’s Independent Student Newspaper since 1892

Chicago Maroon

The University of Chicago’s Independent Student Newspaper since 1892

Chicago Maroon

The University of Chicago’s Independent Student Newspaper since 1892

Chicago Maroon

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Why Are Student-Athletes So Obsessed With Scootering Around Campus?

Student-athletes zooming on electric scooters is a familiar sight on the UChicago campus. The Maroon spoke to a variety of athletes to explore just why the devices are so popular.
Electric+scooters+and+bicycles+outside+Ratner.
Finn Hartnett
Electric scooters and bicycles outside Ratner.

It’s a familiar sight: someone standing up as they whiz by you, likely leaving you with a nice view of a black or maroon backpack with a UChicago “C” on it. Many students have probably experienced this throughout the first half of autumn quarter. It’s left The Maroon wondering just why student-athletes are so obsessed with their electric scooters. While many options are available to get around campus, such as Lyfts, Divvy bikes, and campus shuttles, scooters have long been strangely popular, especially among athletes. Why is this?

There are a few different reasons athletes favor scooters. While bike lanes are available in certain on-campus areas, such as the Midway, the lack of bike lanes on most other streets throughout UChicago’s campus is certainly a factor. As one athlete, who requested to remain anonymous, put it, she felt “biking in the city [was] very inconvenient and less safe than scootering, as a scooter is easier to control and allows the rider to be more aware of their surroundings.” Third-year wrestler Darian Estevez and first-year wrestler Cole Joseph similarly preferred scooters to bikes, stating that electric scooters are foldable and easier to store. They both mentioned that the ability to keep the scooters in their room was a factor in why they chose a scooter over bikes. 

Estevez and the anonymous athlete also pointed out that scootering makes them feel safer, especially when moving around at night. “Considering the University’s surroundings and the recent muggings, being on a scooter feels safer than walking,” the anonymous athlete mentioned. Similarly, Estevez remarked that having potentially 20-minute walks at night cut down to short, 5-minute scooter rides has made him feel much safer. 

While the athletes did not compare their scooters to Lyfts or campus shuttles, there are likely a couple reasons why they may prefer scooters over these options. With Lyfts, it is likely that students prefer using their discounted rides for late nights out. There is a need to be mindful with how students use their rides, particularly given the recent cut from 10 to seven monthly rides. As for the campus shuttles, athletes may prefer the convenience of being able to get directly to their destinations without any wait time, especially if they are in a hurry to practice. 

 Scooter companies have cited the rigors of workouts as part of why athletes may prefer scooters. Unagi Scooters told The Maroon over email that “if an athlete is sore from training, an e-scooter is the perfect way to get around,” as it allows an athlete to not have to worry about walking or pedaling a bike. They also mentioned that college students were one of their target demographics—they offer a student discount where students can “subscribe” to their scooter rental program—and they are unsurprised by the trend on the UChicago campus. 

With the winter months coming up, The Maroon asked athletes if they plan on continuing to use their scooter. Each one of them said they were, with the anonymous athlete pointing out that she thinks “the city usually does a good job of salting and plowing the streets” and so she will be able to continue to use her scooter throughout the colder weather. Each athlete also added that they have not had any issues with protecting their scooter, typically locking them up on one of the many bike racks around campus when they are moving around campus during the day. 

While it tends to be athletes scooting by people on campus, scooters are not limited to athletes. Other students also utilize scooters, so perhaps it would be wise not to rule one out for yourself. With the cold weather coming quickly, it may be best to find a way to avoid long walks in the Chicago weather!

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About the Contributor
Finn Hartnett, Head Sports Editor
Finn Hartnett is a fourth-year at the College from New York City. He was given the Sports Editor title in June 2021, and since then he has enjoyed the work greatly, whether that means interviewing people at local sports events or writing ballads to his favorite Chicago Cub. Occasionally, he contributes to the News and Grey City sections as well. In addition to The Maroon, Finn has contributed articles to the website CATALYST and the Long Island newspaper Dan’s Papers. He has also interned for the non-profit investigative newsroom New York Focus. In his free time, he enjoys petting his cat.
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