As electronic scooters (also known as e-scooters) have begun to rise in popularity, the city of Mt. Pleasant has decided to join the trend and solve a prominent transportation issue by bringing this new mode of transportation within the city limits with the first set of e-scooters arriving in late April.
“Mt. Pleasant began working on a city ordinance to allow e-scooters about a year ago,” shared Mt. Pleasant city manager, Aaron Desentz. “We’d seen them growing in popularity in other towns around the state and thought there was a clear need for them here in Mt. Pleasant.”
Under the approved Mt. Pleasant city ordinance, any e-scooter company is welcome to contact the city and negotiate a contract. Currently, the city is working with SPIN and BIRD, two of the most well-known micro-mobility companies.
(Photo courtesy of SPIN)
Jimmy Gilman, the head of government partnerships at SPIN, has been working for the past year on bringing SPIN scooters to various municipalities and universities. SPIN scooters arrived in Mt. Pleasant April 21.
According to Gilman, “SPIN noticed that Mt. Pleasant was working on an ordinance for micro-mobility and we saw Mt. Pleasant, and especially CMU, as a place that was well suited for micro-mobility because it has an urban structure.”
According to the American Library Association, “micro-mobility” is a term generally used to define small vehicles—like scooters, bicycles and skateboards—that travel no more than 25 miles per hour and are used to travel distances less than five miles.
“When we look for places that would benefit from micro-mobility programs, we’re really looking for a place where there are destinations within a one-to-three mile radius so the scooters could replace what would usually need to be short car trips,” explained Gilman.
In addition to leisure, the e-scooters have several other benefits. “From a sustainability perspective [the scooters] are an option that can facilitate transit use and replace automobile trips which helps to cut carbon emissions. From an accessibility perspective, they can help folks who do not have access to public transit or cars,” Gilman shared.
“Furthermore, it allows people access to jobs that they would not have had access to otherwise due to transportation concerns,” elaborated Gilman.
The e-scooters can be operated anywhere within the Mt. Pleasant city limits on the city’s public rights-of-way. “The scooter companies will use something called geo-fencing to make sure that the scooters will only be able to travel within city limits,” shared Desentz about the city’s plans.
As the traveling restrictions lie at the city border, this means that e-scooters are also allowed to be utilized on Central Michigan University’s campus, as campus falls within the city limits. However, CMU has written their own ordinance in addition to the city’s in regards to e-scooter usage. The participating e-scooter companies, as well as users, are required to adhere to CMU’s guidelines while using the scooters on campus. The ordinance and full list of guidelines can be found on CMU’s website
According to a University Communications press release, “While on sidewalks on the CMU campus, all personal and professionally owned micro-mobility devices must obey a strict 10 mph speed limit. All professionally owned scooters will be programmed to self-limit to a top speed of 10 mph while operating within the campus boundaries.”
Students have already begun to use the scooters around campus.
SPIN e-scooters outside of Anspach Hall on Central Michigan University's campus in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. (Photo: Adison Reder/Epicenter)
“They’re convenient if you have to go a long distance,” shares CMU senior Jesica Jurj. “They’re also just fun to scoot around on when the weather is nice.”
CMU junior Nadia Simons also weighed in on the new scooters saying, “I think they’re a good way to get outside and try something different. It could be a cool social bonding activity to rent some scooters and ride around with friends.”
The SPIN scooters cost a flat rate of $1 to unlock then the rate is 39 cents per minute. Special rates will also be periodically offered within the SPIN app. Through these special offers, users will be able to purchase a “SPIN Pass” which will have unique “all you can ride” rates.
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