Matthew McConkey/Fulcrum
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Scooters and I have a bad history together. When I close my eyes, I can still feel the pain of a razor scooter swinging into my ankle. It might be the single worst pain I’ve ever felt — followed closely by road rash from frequent scooter accidents.

So, when I walked to campus and saw no less than a dozen e-scooters around Sandy Hill, I was pretty skeptical. 

Would I hop on one and wipe out while riding down Henderson Street? Would the pain of an e-scooter to the ankle be worse than a razor scooter? I figured the only way to determine whether these scooters were helpful or hazardous was to test one out — and to my surprise, I found the experience wonderful. 

Transportation is an asset for students. Some are lucky enough to have a roommate with a car, others are stuck resorting to walking four kilometres to get groceries. As one of those students without access to a car, this is how I discovered that e-scooters can make student life a whole lot easier. 

On my first ride, I picked out a Bird scooter — one of the three brands widely available across Sandy Hill. And after downloading the app and depositing 10 dollars, I began my two-kilometre commute to the Rideau street Loblaws. It seemed my days of riding a razor scooter had prepared me — I figured it out almost right away.

Twisting the scooter’s right handle moved me a maximum of 20km/h, and got me to the grocery store in just over eight minutes — that’s about 20 minutes quicker than with just my legs. And when my ride was over, I got off, logged my trip on the app, and left the scooter just beside the sidewalk. It was that easy.

Maybe the best part of the entire ride though was that it cost less than five dollars. I got an extra 20 minutes to my day, and avoided a sweaty back just by spending $4.25 — that’s two dollars less than a pen at the University bookstore (it actually is.)

These e-scooters are certainly a cheap, quick, and intuitive way to get around Sandy Hill. But my skepticism about them is in part still warranted. There are aspects of these e-scooters that continue to make me anxious.

For instance, I have seen more than a few people riding these scooters while staring at their phones. Unless these riders are the greatest multitaskers Ottawa has ever seen, the walkers of Sandy Hill have real reason to be concerned. I’d hate to be crossing Laurier avenue only to be knocked out by an e-scooter rider — that sounds like a horrible way to start the semester. 

It’s also worth noting that while I rode this e-scooter, I felt ridiculous. I don’t care if you’re Miles Teller, it’s impossible to look cool while riding a scooter. Every time I made eye contact with someone while I was riding, I felt compelled to tell them, “yes, I know I look stupid.” 

Nevertheless, quick and inexpensive travel around Ottawa is always welcomed. And aside from self-consciousness and reckless drivers, it’s safe to say that e-scooters are a real benefit to Sandy Hill. 


  • Matthew is a fourth-year student studying philosophy and political science at the University of Ottawa. This is his first year as the Fulcrum’s Opinions Editor, and he looks forward to hearing opinions from all his fellow students.