The URB-E scoots on campus

A student's purchase of the new vehicle generated interesting reactions and a dive into the Risk Management rulebook.

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The URB-E scoots on campus

Photo by Thecla Li/ THE CHIMES

Photo by Thecla Li/ THE CHIMES

Photo by Thecla Li/ THE CHIMES

Photo by Thecla Li/ THE CHIMES

Micah Kim, Deputy News Editor

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With limited approved options for transportation on Biola’s campus, the URB-E has caught some attention for its unique hybrid of scooter and bike powered by an electric battery.

THE URB-E TREND

Senior philosophy major Melissa Sugeng brought the URB-E to campus in May of 2017, sharing in a trend that has carried over from the University of Southern California campus, near the company’s headquarters in Pasadena. Sugeng first received the URB-E when the price stood at $899. The price now stands at $1,099.

Sugeng first became aware of the invention through her friend.

“A friend of mine goes to Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, and her product design professor invented a foldable electric scooter / bike called the URB-E a few years ago,” Sugeng said in an email. “They have a partnership with USC and I see a lot of them on their campus. I also see a lot of them in Old Town Pasadena, where the store is.”

URB-E RULES

As the URB-E is a recent invention, the Office of Risk Management had to help determine its designation under vehicle regulations. Risk and Insurance Administrator James Yoon of Risk Management said the vehicle is considered a motorized bike. According to Sugeng, her URB-E was given a bike permit, so she can park it on the bike racks on campus. However, she added that Campus Safety only allowed her to ride on roads for automobiles. According to Campus Safety rules, “‘Electric assisted bicycles,’ which are considered bicycles, may park in bicycle racks.”

“I guess it would be more convenient for me to be able to ride the URB-E around Chase Gymnasium and bike trails,” Sugeng said. “It has a bike permit, but I can’t ride it on bike trails. It’s like a platypus.”

URB-E FEATURES

According to the website, the name URB-E comes from the phrase “Urban Electric,” because the device aims for a convenient transportation method in urban communities. URB-E is foldable, allowing it to be carried easily. The battery of the vehicle, called “Eddy”, is also able to be removed from the scooter and can charge mobile devices.

The odd-looking vehicle is a mix of the features of both bicycle and scooter, having a small seat but no pedals. Because of these complex features, Sugeng received interesting reactions on campus.

“A faculty or a staff… he walks up to me and says, ‘That’s an interesting scooter,’” Sugeng said. “Or a student would yell, ‘Nice ride!’ or some people would just stop and stare.”