Longboarding Ed. 101: Don’t run people over

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Longboarding Ed. 101: Don’t run people over

A bike rack outside Randall Library

A bike rack outside Randall Library

Cierra Noffke

A bike rack outside Randall Library

Cierra Noffke

Cierra Noffke

A bike rack outside Randall Library

Cierra Noffke, Staff Writer

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Biking or longboarding is a popular alternative to walking. And why shouldn’t it be? UNC Wilmington is a vast and beautiful campus.

But our campus is growing and, with it, congestion. It is becoming hazardous to walk without paying attention to incoming skateboarders or bikers.

It is possible we have forgotten the basics of responsibly using vehicles (which Lexico defines “as a thing used for transporting people or goods”).

Pedestrians do not need excuses. I could walk at the rate of a snail, which is approximately 0.0029 MPH, or I could make a playlist on Spotify for walking to class, or read some assigned work on the way to class because I did not read it the night before, and it will never be my responsibility if a biker runs into me.

Why? Because the bikers or unicycle-ers or skateboarders are the ones who have full-fledged control over their vehicle of choice. The onus of safety is theirs.

Pedestrians should always be cautious of their surroundings. This means, among other things, putting away your cell phone when you are reaching a congested area and walking primarily to the right to make way for those zipping by on wheels. But, unfortunately, this is not always the reality.

Students should not have to move out of the way for bikers or boarders coasting through campus.

It is the rider’s responsibility as someone who is operating a vehicle to look out, respect, slow down and yes, even stop, for pedestrians who can admittedly be annoying.

Natalia Romano is a sophomore transfer student from Elon University.

“I actually just learned how to ride a bike,” Romano said. “I don’t like to bike on campus. But there have been a few times when I’m walking that people on bikes come up behind me, and I scare really easily so I almost always fall over.”

Those who have are quickly startled, have anxiety or have a disability are at risk for injuries or anxiety attacks brought on by someone using a vehicle who has somewhere else they need to be.

Ava Trexler is finishing a psychology major at UNCW. She is an avid skateboarder and has had her skateboard since high school.

“I usually take back roads because Chancellor’s gets so backed up. The bricks are supposed to be for people who are on a board or a bike, but people will just chill and talk in the middle of the way. I think throwing a few bike lanes in more than like, two areas, would probably help out,” Trexler said.

How do we solve congestion? Diverting traffic is a good idea, especially with the growth of our campus.

But if it is not possible just yet, we should in the meantime be respectful of the pedestrians and non-pedestrians around us.

A little more of this responsibility falls on the non-pedestrian, because they are the ones riding the bike (or the longboard). They are the ones who should look out for the people in front of them.