The Daily Illini

Skaters are the ultimate transportation nuisance

Brian Nguyen

Brian Nguyen

By Aidan Berg, Columnist

This semester, transportation is one of the most contested issues on campus. On top of the throngs of freshmen learning the bus system and the etiquette required to keep traffic flowing smoothly, we now also have VeoRides rolling around campus, throwing the biking scene out of whack.

Still, even with the confusion of bike-shares and bike lanes, everything has a place and it will get sorted out in due time, as people become more comfortable with our changing transportation scene.

Everything has a place, except skateboards.

I get it, skating is quicker than walking and if you already own a board, it’s probably not worth your money to buy a bike. It also looks pretty cool, they’re easy to maintain and you can carry your board with you, saving more money on bike locks and freeing up bike racks for bikers.

But skateboards are impractical.

They have no designated place in the traffic flow around campus. Where should they go? They’re too slow for the bike lanes, but too fast for the sidewalks. Every group of pedestrians they cut off ends up slowing everyone down.

I don’t mind seeing skateboards on the sidewalks, but skaters must stop riding around during passing periods: at least pick them up. The Main Quad is choked with pedestrians at the same times every day, and even the bikers know to walk their bikes in crowded areas.

Alas, at all hours of the day, I see skateboarders trying to sail the sea of slow moving pedestrians, hoping to get to their class half a second faster because they’ve discovered ball bearings; they weave in and out of the little groups that form on the sidewalks. It always seems to end with the skater either wiping out, or taking up two-thirds of the sidewalk to create the perfect sine-wave of weaves to avoid wiping out.

When wiping out, they dramatically leap off their boards like they’re in an action movie, landing in the middle of a clump of people walking to class while simultaneously launching their skate/longboard into the ankles of everyone in front of them. Afterwards, there’s a moment of calm as the skater regains their senses, jogs twenty feet to reclaim their board and leaves without any visible sign of shame or embarrassment.

It feels very 90s to call out skaters. I feel like I should also talk about how much I hate grunge music or Seattle. But I don’t hate skaters, beanies or Nirvana I simply want to get to class without having to watch a crash or witness a biker get angry because their dear bike lanes have been infringed upon. A little decency goes a long way on the streets,  and this goes for everyone, not just the skaters.

Aidan is a freshman in AHS.

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