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Campus Safety Adds Segways & Bikes to Patrols

Over the next several weeks, Campus Safety will add the use of Segway and bike patrols to that of motor vehicles as we support the campus and the surrounding community. The addition of these new patrol methods will make the MICA community safer, and provide a green, cost-effective alternative to over-reliance on motor vehicles.

While motor vehicles are necessary for campus safety, they are over-used; we currently use only vehicles to patrol our campus and the neighboring areas that our students, staff, and faculty frequent or live in. The associated operation and maintenance costs are expensive, increase annually, and provide minimal benefits in crime reduction. In addition, this method of patrolling is very predictable and in many ways ineffective. By adding Segway and bike patrols, we hope to reduce expenses, address issues arising from the use of motor vehicles, and provide improved security for our community.

As we explore contemporary safety practices, as well as ways to reduce our carbon footprint and maximize MICA's resources, we will also train our staff in the "Mastery of Patrol" methods; these processes will be used over the next several weeks to help prevent members of our campus community becoming victims of crime.

The notion of purchasing Segways during this economic climate might bring up questions of costs. Following are some of the data the Office of Campus Safety considered before making this decision:

Average Campus Safety Vehicles

Our vehicles are in generally good condition until they accumulate 50,000 miles. Between 50,000 and 75,000 miles, significant wear begins to show, repair costs increase, and the vehicle warranty usually expires. In addition, fuel efficiency is reduced, and as a general practice, MICA safety vehicles are in service 24 hours a day.

Replacement Costs

The cost to replace a vehicle ranges from $25,000.00 to $32, 000.00. Our current vehicle fleet includes a 1998 Ford Explorer with 105,000 miles, a 2002 Chevy Tracker with 64,018 miles, and a 2005 Ford Escape with 49,900 miles. The 1998 Ford Explorer is at the end of its life cycle, and the other two vehicles are rapidly approaching theirs.

Annual Fuel Consumption

Each year, it is estimated the College will spend approximately $17,868.00 in fuel costs. This estimate is based on the cost of fuel remaining at $1.99 per gallon. If gas increases during the summer - as it did last year - our costs could go up as much as $2,000.00.

In contrast, Segways can charge each day for less than 25 cents - $182.00 annually. Removing one vehicle from service and eliminating their annual fuel costs will more than cover the cost of one Segway.

Maintenance and Repair Costs

Each month, all of MICA's vehicles undergo preventative maintenance to avoid costly repairs and damage to the vehicles. These measures include tire replacement, brake service, and oil changes, along with repairing other mechanical failures that occur. Currently, annual maintenance and repair costs average $6,900.00; this will increase as our vehicles age.

Maintenance on a Segway requires only tightening wheel nuts and inflating tires to proper levels. Removing one vehicle from service and eliminating the annual repair costs will more than cover the cost of one Segway.

MVA fees and Insurance Costs

Maryland requires that all motor vehicles be insured and maintain current registration. Annual insurance coverage costs $1,000.00 per vehicle, and there is a registration fee of $1,540.00 every two years. Additionally, each vehicle must pass an emissions test every three year at $14.00 per test.

Segways do not have any of these fees associated with its use.

Basic facts about Segways and their use:

  • The Segway PT is an electric, self-balancing personal transportation device that is an alternative to automobiles for trips of short to moderate length in urban environments.
  • Segways are used in more than 1,000 police and security initiatives including the Baltimore City Police Department, Maryland Transportation Authority, and University of Maryland.
  • Segways have been researched by the U.S. Department of Justice, National Criminal Justice Reference Service, local police departments, the U.S. Department of Transportation (FHA), and by campus police and security, all finding that this technology is an effective public safety tool.
  • Segways are more environmentally friendly than patrol cars; they meet green initiatives and leave a small carbon footprint, with virtually zero pollution associated with their use. MICA Campus Safety is addressing urgent concerns over the contributions of automobile emissions to global climate change and atmospheric pollution.
  • Segways increase visibility to those who are being served. It forces interaction, allows officers to be approachable, increases and improves community relations, and will add to our officers' ability to be proactive in preventing crimes.
  • Segways allow officers to access two to three times more ground than motor vehicles.
  • Segway and bike patrols will extend the life and expand the use of the motor vehicles in our fleet.
  • Segways will improve response time for on-campus walking escorts; if it takes an officer a long time to respond to a student or member of the community, they won't utilize the services of the staff.