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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Skate much?

As a skater, someone who rolls through campus on polyurethane wheels, I often find myself falling because of rocks, running into impatient bicyclists and having to dodge ignorant pedestrians. To that end, let me lay out the problems that arise on busy roads and provide some advice for fellow boarders’ future cruising.

First, I want to address the folks who choose shoes as their primary transportation. Walking is safe and healthy, but it’s hazardous when you’re texting. On the first day of this semester I had to dodge four people in a row. Not one looked up from their cell phones. Pedestrians: plenty of your fellow students are trying their boards for the first time. They’re paying attention to not eating concrete. Do not trust that they can get around you. Unless you want to literally “”get down to earth”” with some skateboarders and bicyclists on the UA Mall, I suggest leaving the phone in your pocket.

Second, the cyclists on campus should exercise caution. You ride a device that can average 13 to 30 mph. Treat the crowded Mall like the Interstate 10. Instead of causing 20-body pileups by rushing into the opposite lane, stay to the right. If you are so type-A that you just can’t stand being behind other cyclists, act as if you are a sensible driver in a police chase; you need to go fast and get in the wrong lane to pass everyone, but you don’t want a head-on crash, so look before you zip into that lane.

For those of you like myself, who enjoy leaving the ground and watching your board flip under you, there’s quite a bit to worry about. You are not allowed to do tricks on campus because the UA doesn’t want your mommy to sue them when you fall trying your first piddly kickflip. This is true for anywhere that posts “”no skateboarding”” signs around a property. While your parents might not sue the school, your insurance company might be inclined to sue the landowner over your medical expenses.

The other problem with doing tricks is property damage, which is the reason for the ugly skate-stoppers on ledges around campus. The UA campus offers plenty of amazing skate-terrain and you will probably skate it. If you’re going to do it, do so thoughtfully; don’t be belligerent if the University of Arizona Police Department stops you and tells you to stay out of people’s way, since you’re the one breaking the rules.

No matter what your bumper sticker says, skateboarding is a crime — punishable by verbal warnings, trespassing and criminal damage charges and getting your board impounded, which costs $45 to get back. Everyone, including other skateboarders, will appreciate that you’re being careful not to damage property and. Listen to what your mom told you as a kid, “”Leave things better than when you found them.””

Most importantly, everyone needs to respect each other. If everyone did so, the problems stated above would not exist. If you’re a busy biker, respect those around you by not being a speeding road hazard. If you’re walking, respect others by paying attention to your surroundings. If you’re a skateboarder, don’t be a loudmouth stereotype. Everyone will be less black and blue, inconvenienced and frustrated if all modes of transportation on campus can cooperate.

— Gregory Gonzales is a sophomore majoring in philosophy and pre-journalism. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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