If you're looking to celebrate national Go Skateboarding Day by "Gleaming the Cube" at the University of Utah campus, you may want to think twice. If the University gets its way, "dangerous" skateboarders and bicyclists could soon be paying $100 fines.
University police proposed in May to end all recreational skateboarding, biking and rollerblading on campus. The ban aimed to prevent accidents caused by reckless boarding on pedestrian pathways and was passed by the U's Academic Senate, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
But after questions arouse about the ban -- how would enforcers know the difference between a recreational rider and someone who is riding to class? -- the Academic Senate reconsidered its stance. It now supports a policy that would not ban recreational riding on campus, but rather would allow the commuter-services department to deem "dangerous" riding punishable by a $100 fine. And, unlike the first proposal, campus police will not be enforcing it.
Allyson Mower, president of the Academic Senate, says, “The University of Utah wants an open and welcoming campus, but also a safe pedestrian campus. This news policy balances both of those aspects.”
But, this new policy also comes with questions: What is considered dangerous?
Mower described dangerous behavior as not yielding to pedestrians, riding over 10 mph, damaging university property, riding in parking lots or roadways and causing any injuries.
In the University of Utah’s Regulations Library, Policy 3-232 outlines all of the rules for riders on campus. It states, “Every person riding a bicycle [and skateboard, scooter or rollerskates] shall exercise due care and reasonable caution to prevent injury to others, to self, or to property. Obstacle riding or other acts or maneuvers which may endanger the operator or others or damage property is prohibited. Every person riding a bicycle shall yield the right of way to pedestrians at all times.”
Ariel Froerer, a student at the U, rides her bike to class on campus and already obeys this campus policy, without the threat of a fine. And according to her, “The campus is crowded, and banning recreational riding won’t solve the problem. Most riders during crowded times aren’t even recreational. Better designation of riding paths across campus would help more than anything.”
The $100 fine policy isn’t finalized yet. The full Academic Senate will review the policy on Sept. 9. If approved there, it will then go to the Board of Trustees for a final decision.
Other colleges in Utah have also tried similar bans. Dixie State University in southern Utah bans skateboarding and rollerblading on sidewalks. Its policy and procedure guidelines reads, “Skateboarding and rollerblading are prohibited from campus sidewalks, roadways, plazas, lawns, and parking lots. Violators of the skateboarding and rollerblading policy may have their skates or blades confiscated, issued a citation and fined, or warned/reprimanded.” But, the university does allow longboarding as a mode of transportation on campus.
Professor Leonard Hawes of the communication department at the U was injured almost a year ago by a skateboarder who he says intentionally hit him while skating on the campus. According to a letter he wrote to The Trib, he required surgery after he sustained injuries on his left shoulder and right hip. Hawes is the only reported case of injury due to reckless riding on the campus and he fully supported the first-proposed ban.Thumbnail via 20th Century Fox