Photo courtesy of Cherri Yoon / THE CHIMES
It’s 4 p.m. on Friday. You had a long day of classes and you’re ready for the weekend. You’re driving home on 1200 West and as you pass the free parking, a skateboarder flies into the street in front of you. You slam on your brakes. No big deal, you’re alert, and you narrowly avoid a collision. It’s clear the skateboarder had no idea what they were doing and was not in control. You hear screeching tires behind you as another vehicle almost hits your car. The madness has not ended, as a second car behind you also narrowly avoids a rear-end collision.
You throw your hand out the window in frustration. In response, the skateboarder flips you off as though the entire situation was your fault.
This scenario is not uncommon. Many students narrowly avoid collisions, either with other students or with vehicles, because of skateboarders.
“Problems come when people don’t know how to use their skateboards,” said Megan Murset, sophomore ballet student at UVU.
This entitled behavior is ridiculous.
UVU Police Sergeant K. Liddiard added some interesting information on the topic. He said, “If a moving vehicle collides with someone on a skateboard, it is considered a routine auto-pedestrian accident.” Regardless of the situation, the person driving the vehicle is at fault.
So how does the ruling change when a skateboarder hits a pedestrian? In that situation, are skateboards considered vehicles? According to UVU PD, they are not. Despite the speed a skateboard can achieve, there is no regulation or law protecting traditional pedestrians from being hit by someone on a skateboard.
Skateboards are allowed on campus. According to UVU Policy 403, the use of skateboards is authorized as a means of transportation. Use of a skateboard is, however, limited to roadways and sidewalks. Any use of a skateboard within the walls of the university is prohibited. The same policy also specifically states skateboarders “…shall yield the right of way to pedestrians at all times…” Yet, students on skateboards do everything they can to weave in and out of pedestrians.
Despite clearly stated regulations at each building entrance, students are not afraid to ride their skateboards through the hallways. Violations are especially common in the Liberal Arts and Physical Education buildings.
“Somebody should probably do something about it. It’s posted,” said Riley Wyatt, a freshman.
Let’s go back to our original scenario. If a skateboarder’s erratic and irresponsible behavior causes you to slam on your breaks, and you are rear-ended, the vehicle that rear-ended you is at fault. According to Sergeant Liddiard, this is written up as “the driver’s failure to maintain proper control of their motor vehicle.”
Despite official policy allowing skateboards on campus, Sergeant Liddiard believes they are a liability. That being said, he also believes there is not yet sufficient evidence to have them banned.
Of course, not all skateboarders are irresponsible. This is an example of how a careless few can ruin a seemingly good thing. By the way, UVU’s official policy does not distinguish between skateboards and longboards. The university views them as one in the same.