by Rene Gupta
If you’ve walked around UNC’s campus, you’ve probably seen them. They move quickly on the street with their revving engines, but they aren’t cars. They’re mopeds, and they’re becoming more popular.
Owning a moped is the new ‘norm’ for many UNC students.
For students like Carolina Prince, her scooter rides are a quick day brightener amongst the hustle and bustle of classes and schoolwork.
“I really love like riding my scooter,” said Prince. “It’s really fun because it’s big enough to sit two people on it. So I’ll always have my friends on the back. We just rode around the stadium one time and pretended like we were in Mario Kart, it was just ridiculous.”
Sophomore Catherine Munch is on the UNC swim team. She says her moped makes life just a little easier for her and other students within the athletic department.
“I think it’s because we have to run around so much on campus that it makes sense, time-wise, to not waste time walking for 20 minutes everywhere you go, which is why I got it,” Munch said. “Oh, I also drive mine to the pool which is opposite from everything else I go to.”
Munch says she isn’t the only swimmer with a moped and according to Spokesman Randy Young at the UNC Department of Public Safety, she’s not the only student athlete with one either.
“Probably the biggest proliferation we’ve seen in use is among athletes at the university,” Young said. “And we’ve gone out and actually met with athletic department groups and teams and talked about moped safety on campus.”
Young says DPS has had minimal issues with mopeds but he tells students to exercise normal safety precautions. Munch agrees with Young on Moped safety.
“When I go to ride my scooter, I put my helmet on and I put down the top,” Munch said. “I wear a helmet everywhere I go because I think that’s the easiest way to get a ticket on a scooter and it’s also the fastest way to get hurt.”
For many cash-strapped college students, mopeds hold a big advantage over cars. Prince says they guzzle far less fuel.
“I usually have to fill it up maybe once a week if I’m using it pretty heavily,” Prince said. “Like going to class everyday or giving my friends rides. It only holds about one and a half gallons so it’s usually four or five dollars so that is really a good advantage.”
“I really, really would like to advocate for the scooter life. I think that everyone should get one because you don’t know what you’re missing out on. It’s so enjoyable.“
Prince coins the term, ‘scooter life’, as a lifestyle of thrill and carefree fun.