Let them skate

by Emily Alvarenga, Staff Writer

For students on college campuses across the nation, there is a common struggle. This struggle, whether we’d like to admit it or not, is basically the battle to force ourselves to walk across the huge campuses to our classes every day. San Diego State is a pretty big campus, forcing us to make a super long trek every time we have to go to class, and not everyone lives on-campus, making the journey even longer for some.

Most of us don’t want to make the walk, so we invest in alternative means of transportation. Many buy bikes, but there are the few of us who buy skateboards instead, not wanting to take the risk of getting our bikes stolen in between classes or routing out a bike-friendly route that will avoid stairs. The problem with buying skateboards is they’re technically illegal on campus.

“I used to ride a skateboard and loved it, until I got a ticket for it,” criminal justice sophomore Patty Nee said. “I wasn’t even going fast or cutting other people off. I was just making my way down Campanile on a side of the walkway with very few other students. And to top it off, I hadn’t even known that skateboarding on campus was illegal and the cop didn’t even let me off with a warning.”

According to San Diego’s municipal code, skateboards are not to be ridden on sidewalks, which is basically all of SDSU’s walkways. Many students can’t comprehend why skateboards are banned on our campus and I’m definitely one of them.

Skateboards are such a common form of transportation and have been for years, so why aren’t we allowed to use them?”

“We are trying to promote green alternate modes of transportation,” SDSU Chief of Police Lamine Secka said. “Riding a skateboard is a low priority crime, but it escalates.”

SDSU police officers used to give warnings and not cite a skateboarder right away, but it seems like that’s a thing of the past. Almost every student who has recently received a ticket for riding their skateboard on campus has reported never receiving a warning and being ticketed right on the spot. In fact, after speaking with 15 students who received tickets, nine claimed they hadn’t known skateboarding was illegal on campus. They also never received a warning.

Only skateboards are banned, leaving students free to ride only bicycles. SDSU recently added a bike lane to most of its campus, making it safer for students to stay out of the cycler’s way. Bikers are technically only allowed to ride their bikes in the lanes and must walk them everywhere else, but few know of that rule, let alone follow it.

The University Senate policy states “skateboards, roller skates, bicycles and similar personal wheeled conveyances may only be operated on streets and designated paths.” However, there are no designated paths for skateboards on campus, nor do they plan on making any, or allowing the skateboarders to jointly use the current bike lane.

“I hate riding a bike on campus,” psychology junior Erin Phong said. “It’s a hassle to have to go the long way to my classes just to avoid routes with stairs and sometimes it even takes me longer than walking would, which defeats the purpose of even riding my bike. I wish I could ride my skateboard, but I’m just too afraid to get a ticket.”

Skateboarding is illegal on our campus mainly because of how dangerous it is to other students who are walking. I’ve seen plenty of skateboarders almost hit walking students, simply because the walkers are crossing the bike lane without looking where they’re going.

At the same time, I’ve seen just as many, if not more, bikers nearly hit people. Bikes cause collision accidents just as much as skateboards do, and getting hit by a bike usually hurts more than getting hit by a skateboard.

Additionally, skateboarders are usually able to stop a lot quicker than bikers, allowing them time to avoid accidents much easier than those on bikes.

“I recently got hit by someone on a bike,” Spanish freshman Waverly Spencer said. “They weren’t on the bike lane or even near one and just weren’t looking where they were going. I’m a little person, so I completely got run over by the bike. I would much rather have been hit by someone on a skateboard; that would’ve done a lot less damage.”

Skateboards are just as efficient as bikes and, yet, they’re not allowed. If bikes, which hit as many people and are just as dangerous, are now allowed on campus, then why can’t skateboards be too? The laws are beginning to look a bit biased and starting to frustrate students at SDSU.

Watch a video about skateboarding on campus