On an early Monday morning, the sun illuminates a sign located on Claremont McKenna College’s (CMC) campus that reads “the use of motorized transportation … is prohibited.” Simultaneously, several students on e-vehicles, from electric scooters to skateboards, zoom past that very same sign in the midst of their everyday rush to class.
Many of the students on these motorized vehicles, such as Icey Cheng CM ’26, have adapted a wheel-centric lifestyle amidst their tightly-packed schedules and routines.
Cheng, who lives off-campus, uses an electric scooter (e-scooter) to lessen the commute, saving her more than 10 minutes each way.
“I [e-]scooter from my home to school every morning and then I [e-]scooter back every night just to save some time,” Cheng said. “I have three classes at Pomona [College], so it really helps.”
For students like Cheng who live off campus, using an e-scooter is both an efficient and accessible way to commute. In addition, many students who live on campus use them to get classes at other schools across the 5Cs.
Students like Giana Caridad CM ’24 have recently made the transition from walking to riding e-scooters, yet there are other walkers who have maintained their strict allegiance to on-the-ground class migrations.
Clara Desmond SC ’26 did not see an end to her commuting habits anytime soon.
“I choose to walk because getting my bike is a whole ordeal,” Clara said. “I have to do the lock which takes a while — I have to take it out and it usually gets my clothes dirty.”
“My freshman year, I dove into a bush while I was on rollerskates. I almost hit a pedestrian and had to swerve out of the way… Honestly, as a commuter on wheels, it is our responsibility to make sure that we are aware of our situation and that no one gets hurt because we are moving faster.” Jasmine Tan ‘25 said.
As the school year kicks off, we get to dive into the different profiles on how students at the 5Cs get from class to class. Whether you’re a walker, biker, e-scooter, or on wheels, let’s hear about the diverse perspective and experiences on the different transportation methods each student takes.
Desmond claimed that walking, despite the longer commute times, comes with the social benefits of conversations with friends, along with avoiding the issue of storage and safety for their vehicles.
“My longest commute to class is to CMC from Scripps [College],” Desmond said. “I am going from Toll Hall at Pomona to Adams Hall at CMC … Walking is quicker and I save time from getting the bike — it’s something I prefer not to do.”
Riding runs a potential risk of causing injuries and collisions. Caridad remembered a moment where she was almost hit by a scooter, yet insisted that the blame should be put onto her as a pedestrian instead of the operator of the motorized vehicle.
“I was looking at my phone and really should have been paying attention,” Caridad said.
Jasmine Tan CM ’25, who travels to class on roller skates, had a different take on collisions between pedestrians and riders.
“My freshman year, I dove into a bush while I was on rollerskates,” Tan said. “I almost hit a pedestrian and had to swerve out of the way… Honestly, as a commuter on wheels, it is our responsibility to make sure that we are aware of our situation and that no one gets hurt because we are moving faster.”
Tan argued that the ban of motorized vehicles should not be implemented, and advocated for every student to be able to make their own decision in commuting. Tan only hopes they take time to enjoy their surroundings in the process.
“California is beautiful — especially the campus during this time of the year,” Tan said. “I think it’s super fun, it’s relaxing, and there’s no better feeling than the wind in your hair.”