All boarders, stay in your lane

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It’s true. That means you, shirtless man on your way to the dorm, coolly drinking your kombucha with little regard for pedestrians.

Many a time have I walked across campus frowning at your four hard wheels skating across pavement, nearly hitting you while riding my bicycle because you roamed the roads of Burlington unsanctioned. Often I have thought to myself how primitive your skateboards really are.

If you have not lit this paper on fire yet, please hear me out for just a moment and ponder with me the place of the wheelie-board within our society.

To all wheelie-board riders: the road is not a place where you are welcome, and neither is the sidewalk.

[media-credit name=”Ellena Erskine” align=”alignnone” width=”286″]skateboarders[/media-credit]

 Bicycles, cars and other automotive vehicles are the only modes of transportation that are appropriate for the roads.

Why, you ask? First of all, skateboards don’t have brakes. When someone on a skateboard cannot brake for others, they are sending the message that others have to be the ones braking for them.

If you believe forcing others to adhere to your travel patterns is okay, you are behaving selfishly.

Yes, I know what you are thinking. You believe you are pretty darn sharp when it comes to stopping on a skateboard, but you are wrong. When a skateboarder stops, either them or their dearest wheelie-board gets hurdled forward. The lackadaisical friction of your sneaker is just not enough.

Beyond moral obligation, rules of the road state that all non-motor vehicles must behave exactly as a motor vehicle is required to behave. In my three years here I have never seen one of you behave this way. This is partially due to the fact that skateboards do not have a proper braking mechanism for obeying the laws of the road. You may not care, or even notice how much of a nuisance you are, but you get in the way of cars, slow down traffic, put otherwise safe drivers in positions of liability and force traffic patterns to center around you. All of that is wrong.

If you are not on the street, you are likely in an area designated for pedestrians and pedestrians only. The sidewalk is the place where the skateboard is the most annoying.

At street level the skateboards are even worse than from inside a car — delivery trucks on campus are often quieter than a skateboard — so you disturb people who are on foot far more.

Skateboards, longboards, shortboards, medium-boards…

All of them are loud. There is nothing pleasing to a pedestrian about the scraping and carving of your wheelie-board. Many people may find the noise of a skateboard distracting when they are trying to speak with someone or take in the evening chatter on their way home from class.

Skateboards get in the way of pedestrians in the one place where they should be allowed to walk and enjoy themselves free of worry regarding their surroundings. Slipping by some folks on a skateboard so that you do not have to unmount must feel rewarding, but if you ever got the opportunity to see them, you would know your behavior comes at the cost to others.

There is only one paved sanctuary where you belong: the skate park. If you’re not there, or you are not riding long past the absence of us lowly pavement-walkers, do us all a favor: please take your skateboard and burn it, because there is no other way to skateboard ethically.