Skateboard protest rolls on

by Kevin Smead

Antonio Zaragoza, Photo Editor

 

Last Wednesday, a multitude of student skateboarders rode down Campanile Walkway as part of the SDSU Skate-A-Thon, in response to the university enforcing its ban on skateboards, despite the permanent installation of the bike lane.

Though skateboards and other similar transportation methods have been technically banned on campus for nearly 15 years, as part of SDSU Police Code 100.02E, last year the SDSU Police Department agreed not to issue citations for skateboarding in the new bike lanes as part of its one-year trial period.

Once the period ended last spring, the University Senate motioned to make all “wheeled conveyances,” excluding bicycles, ineligible for use in the now-permanent lanes. Fines for riding an item such as a skateboard, scooter or rollerblades can be more than $180.

The rationale for this motion was presented in an April 5 SDSU University Senate meeting.

Environment and Safety Chair Jennifer Quintana pointed to the increased number of citations and accidents involving skateboards that were reported to SDSU Police during the trial period of the lanes as its main reason for the current exclusion.

When asked to present the hard numbers in regard to the increase in skateboard-related injury accidents, the attending officer Jennifer Hart did not have them on hand. However, she claimed most accidents had not been reported at all.

In terms of citations issued, this year has seen a 25 percent decrease in number of citations, dropping from roughly 100 last year, to around 75. None of those citations were given inside the bike lane.

When the ban was once again enforced, many students who skateboard to school felt they were being misrepresented.

“We’re not out here destroying things,” one protester said. “This isn’t middle school.”

“The dangers of the skateboard lie in the rider,” Anthony Ortiz, an SDSU student, said.

And while the Skate-A-Thon protest may have already made a statement, protesters plan to repeat the event every week. The event’s organizer, Nadir Zriouel, cited Henry David Thoreau’s concepts as the protest’s rationale on the group’s Facebook page. He said if a government is treating its subjects unjustly, the subjects must respond with civil disobedience.

Both the previous protest and upcoming repeat had an announced date and time, but disclaimers from the organizer said the time is always subject to change. The event also has a clearly defined set of rules and goals. The guidelines for the event state riders must remain in a single-file line while traveling down the walkway, remaining as quiet as possible to not disrupt classes. Participants are also encouraged to sign a petition at the start of the event to officially show their support.

The next event is planned for 2 p.m. tomorrow, though the date and time are subject to change without warning.