Alright, it’s time to finally talk about this. The issue that has been bothering every CSU student since their first day on campus when they nearly got their ankles shattered to pieces.
Just as some background, they come in many varieties; long, skate, penny, even now motorized (operated by a remote control by the user). No matter the type, they all have a few things in common. Boards don’t have breaks. The users tend to like to swerve around because they aren’t going that fast anyway, so they have to amuse themselves somehow. Additionally, in my observations, 90% of boarders have both headphones in, not making them the most receptive to their environment.
Boarding came about as primarily a new way to perform tricks (that can be quite impressive when the rider doesn’t fall in a dramatic fashion), but alas, usually seems to result in falling multiple times on your way to school, which is not the best way to commute to campus with other people around.
The reason why boarding became such an issue in recent years is the identity crisis that boarders are undergoing. I don’t mean the people riding them, I mean the place they go while commuting on or to campus. Is it on the sidewalk with the pedestrians?They’re going much faster than those walking, and as a pedestrian, it’s mildly terrifying to hear the skateboard sound against the pavement get louder and louder behind you, clunking on all the potholes and breaks in the cement, until the rider finally passes you, missing you by a centimeter without a glance to see if you’re okay.
But what about in the bike lane? Here they’re much slower than most of the bikers, have an irregular speed from the push-then-cruise method, and due to their love for swerving around everyone, bikers trying to pass a boarder can end in a mess. A biker can try and yell “on your left!” to alert the boarder, but their headphones can really get in the way of that.
To be fair to the boarders, neither of these zones are very fun for them either. Pedestrians walk in groups and can block the whole sidewalk, and bikers are aggressive (I’ll be the first to admit road rage does not end in the car) and are going much faster, putting them at risk of getting hit at a high speed.
As campus gets larger and larger, and the university continues to support and encourage alternative transportation (which is phenomenal), there needs to be a designated space for these commuters who are in between the two current designated zones. During high traffic times, like in between classes in the afternoon, the bike lanes are full. Bikers themselves have issues with passing and maintaining safety with their own kind of transportation and adding a whole other group that operates much differently can lead to much more confusion.
Ultimately, the amount of accidents on campus with this kind of situation are few and far between thanks to the bike and pedestrian infrastructure that CSU has created. However, things are changing here at CSU, and there’s nothing wrong with thinking ahead, and being overly cautious. Plus, it’ll make everyone’s lives a little easier. We can all cruise at our own pace, and enjoy our ride to campus a lot more, without having an incident ruin your day, without everyone hating everyone else. Unless you pull one of those “swerve around everyone” moves, or the classic “cruise super slowly in the bike lane while on texting”, then you’re asking for it.