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'Recreational riders' could be banned from U. campus

By Mike Anderson | Posted - May 9th, 2013 @ 8:02pm


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SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah is considering a ban on skateboards, and even some bicycles. They also want campus police to get tougher on what they call "recreational riders" since there are too many injuries and close calls.

University police say the riders speed down the hill by Rice-Eccles Stadium, walk over and hop on TRAX to go back up, and do it again.

Those are the type of riders being targeted by the proposed rule change. There's concern that it's dangerous for them and others on campus.

It's not hard to find the videos of such skaters on YouTube.

"I do see a lot of skateboarders coming down," said Jay Jordan, an English professor at the U.


I actually have a colleague who was injured pretty severely by a longboarder on another part of campus, who hit him, and ended up knocking him down and causing a knee injury.

–Jay Jordan, U. English professor


Jordan says he also sees longboarders going down the hill really fast, and skaters pulling trick jumps. Sometimes they wipe out.

"The university has become sort of a popular skateboard park," said U. Campus Police Chief Scott Folsom.

Folsom says those so-called recreational riders create a safety concern.

"We get pretty regular complaints a lot," he said.

Sometimes people get hurt.

"I actually have a colleague who was injured pretty severely by a longboarder on another part of campus, who hit him and ended up knocking him down and causing a knee injury," Jordan said.

A proposed ban on the U's campus would focus on riders and cyclists who don't go to school or work on campus.

Student Aaron Johnson rides his skateboard on campus a lot.

"It's a huge campus," Johnson said, "so it's way fast."

He says it's a lot better than walking.


If people are smart about it and not cruising down where the whole place is covered with people, then other than that, I don't think it's a safety concern, really.

–Student/Skater Aaron Johnson


"I could see where that could be a problem. But there's also a problem with bikes, too. I've almost been hit by bikes, multiple times," Johnson said.

Still, he says he doesn't believe there needs to be a campus ban.

"I mean, if people are smart about it and not cruising down where the whole place is covered with people, then other than that, I don't think it's a safety concern, really," Johnson said.

How the rule would be enforced &38212; picking out joyriders from campus commuters — is still being worked out. But the idea is that some of these types will be easy to spot.

"Frankly, some of their behaviors sometimes are not safe," Folsom said.

If the proposal passes, recreational riders could get hit with some larger fines. As of now, if campus police spot some reckless riding, they can slap skateboarders with a $10 - $20 ticket. KSL has been told some skaters consider this fine their lift pass and not a big deal, so campus police believe a larger fine may help.

The Academic Senate will go over the proposal again in its next meeting.

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