Six months after Lime rolled out its motorized vehicles in Lubbock — the city in Northwest Texas that Texas Tech calls home — Lime has pulled them from city streets for today and tonight, because overzealous fans who gathered near the school after its win over Michigan State on Saturday night reportedly began tearing down street signs, throwing glass bottles in the air, tipping over at least one car and, yes, setting scooters on fire.
It was an embarrassment for the school, which proudly calls Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes an alum (he was at Saturday’s game). It was an embarrassment for the broader city, too, with Lubbock police quickly issuing a statement that read: After the Texas Tech Mens Basketball team defeated Michigan State in a NCAA Championship Final Four game, hundreds of fans gathered on Broadway, near University. The crowd engaged in extremely dangerous, and disappointing, behavior including vandalizing property. We are proud, and excited, for Texas Tech, but behavior like this will not be tolerated. We want Red Raider fans to support the team and celebrate lawfully and responsibly. We are on the national stage so make Lubbock proud.
Yes, those are all police vehicles! Local and regional law enforcement officers will be spread throughout the city…
Still, Lime clearly didn’t want to take any chances with its scooters, which reportedly cost anywhere from $100 to $500 at retail. Neither does it want someone getting killed on one before or after the big game tonight, which takes place in Minneapolis. Said Lime in a statement sent to TechCrunch a bit ago, “While we too are excited and proud of Texas Tech’s victory and tournament run, we also share the city of Lubbock’s concerns for public safety. In anticipation of tonight’s big game, we have pulled our fleet from the streets before it commences, and will re-deploy scooters after activities subside early Tuesday morning.”
Lime didn’t answer questions today, including how many scooters are currently in Lubbock on a daily basis, whether the company consulted first with city officials and if this is the first decision of its kind. Rival Bird has also not responded to related questions. But Thom Rickert, a Dallas-based risk specialist focused on both traditional and emerging trends that impact public entities — from scooters to drones to automated vehicles — says he is not aware of any scooter company previously yanking its fleet out of crowd-control concerns and that it may well become the norm.
It should, in his view. For one thing, Rickert, like others of us, has seen scooters abused in settings involving large numbers of people and alcohol. He points to Dallas’s Saint Patrick’s Day parade, which attracted more than 100,000 people this year. “I saw some pretty bad behavior” as it relates to scooters, Rickert recounts with a stifled laugh.
Rickert, who works for the specialty insurance company Argo Group, further notes that there’s plenty of data that’s available to Lime and anyone else who wants a better understanding of incident patterns, including when and where and under what conditions vandalism tends to take place. It’s the same kind of data that informs a lot of things to which Americans are accustomed, including parks that close at sundown, and pools rendered inaccessible after Labor Day. “Communities make certain decisions about facilities and equipment based on risk assessment to lessen the impact of certain behaviors,” he says.
It’s conceivable, in fact, that armed with such information, scooter companies may ultimately have no choice but to sweep their products off city streets in advance of certain happenings, that with knowledge comes greater liability. Only time will tell, but don’t be surprised. It would be a pretty natural evolution for the companies. Most already have their wares collected at sundown owing to similar safety, liability and expense-related concerns — because, in short, people sometimes act dumb.
Texas Tech Red Raiders head coach Chris Beard looks on in a game against the Michigan State Spartans during the first half of play in the semifinals of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Saturday, April 6, 2019. (Vernon Bryant/The Dallas Morning News)
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LUBBOCK — The anticipation in Lubbock is building as tonights NCAA mens basketball national championship game between Virginia and Texas Tech nears.
United Supermarkets Arena opens its doors at 7 p.m. for the official watching party. Students and fans are already starting to flock to establishments around the intersection of Broadway Ave. and University Ave., near the heart of campus. At 3 p.m. on this hot Monday afternoon, a curving line of patrons had formed outside Chimys Cerveceria, waiting to be allowed inside when it opened at 4 p.m.
Hey, its not every day your school plays for a title – and Tech preemptively canceled classes on Tuesday.
“Tech made it to the national championship game, something that we have never done before in our program,” said Nathan Treibly, a senior from Midlothian. “Either way, Im just proud of our boys, and Im just happy that were here and we get to experience this.”
Students and fans are already lined up to get into Chimys Cerveceria in Lubbock. The bar usually opens at 11 a.m. but not letting patrons in til 4 today. People I talked with think its going to be crazy again tonight, win or lose, but hope more controlled. pic.twitter.com/4nMAj6G9DR
The department is able to search for those suspects based on photographic evidence they gained through the use of social media and submissions from people who were around the area. Those who do have information on people involved in Saturday nights activity are asked to call the departments Crime Line at 806-741-1000.
Treibly and several of his friends waiting in line voice optimism that the Red Raiders would defeat the Cavaliers in whats expected to be a rugged defensive showcase. They love how the program has developed under coach Chris Beard. They said the team suits Tech perfectly – the Red Raiders were picked to finish seventh in the Big 12 this season and arent loaded with players who were the highest-rated recruits.
The Tech supporters were also aware that Texas Western (UTEP) is the only current Texas school to have won a national championship in mens basketball.
The Tech fans expect another rowdy night in Lubbock, whether the Red Raiders win or lose. But University and local officials have mobilized in an effort to keep the partying under control. After Techs national semifinal win over Michigan State on Saturday night, things got out of hand with some revelers, including an overturned car and a burning pile of Lime scooters. Police eventually resorted to tear gas.
“We encourage people to celebrate,” Police Chief Greg Stevens said during a news conference Monday. “We want people to have a good time. Just do it responsibly and lawfully.”