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Editorial: What’s the implication of giving out tickets to scooter operators?

Jackson Copeland // Asst. Art Editor

Tiger riding on an electric scooter.

Last week, students received an email from Clemson University Police addressing the “safety hazards from e-scooters”. With frequent zipping around pedestrians on sidewalks and riders cutting through traffic, the University hopes to address the matter with education first.
Beyond an educational safety campaign though, the University plans to take action to curb the issue. Officers began to issue warnings for observed violations earlier this week, according to the email. Starting in December, police will issue citations for “careless and reckless operation” and refer cases to the Office of Community and Ethical Standards.
Clemson also recently announced that scooters are banned from all campus buildings, including residence halls. When asked what on-campus residents should do if they don’t feel comfortable leaving their scooter outside, Kathy Hobgood, director of University Housing, said that they should leave them at home after break.
Clemson’s tightening of its grip on scooter operators comes while its student government seeks to bring rentable scooters to campus, and as the regulation of scooters in South Carolina remains in a gray area.
Scooters, unlike mopeds, motorcycles and bicycles, are not recognized under South Carolina law. Mopeds were regulated as recently as 2018, but there is no statewide statute pertaining to electric scooters. Across the state, Charleston and Columbia have issued city-wide bans on rentable scooter programs. And the City of Clemson is against proposals to bring them to the upstate.
The email sent to all students leaves a lot of questions unanswered, particularly with how this de facto scooter ban will be enforced.
First, what is the legality of handing out citations for scooter operators? If there is no law regulating scooters, nor a city ordinance banning the usage of them, how will a citation issued by CUPD for “reckless operation” hold up?
And what other citations will be issued? Is speeding considered reckless, and if so, what is the speed limit for a scooter? Will there be DUIs issued and points taken off of students’ licenses for scooter operation under the influence?
The University of South Carolina seems to regulate scooters and mopeds the same, acknowledging the lack of any regulation on the matter. Moped tags are required, helmets if you’re under 21 a speed limit of 25 mph or less. Is Clemson planning on following a similar approach?
We acknowledge that there is a problem with the scooters on campus and agree that something needs to be done. However, the email we all received leaves us with more questions than answers.
This editorial is the collective opinion of The Tiger’s Senior Staff. Every two weeks, all members vote on a topic and stance, then assign a writer to pen the editorial. We discuss issues relevant to the Clemson student body and broader topics related to the University.

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