Despite University rules, boarders and skaters ride on

It’s impossible to avoid.

On the University campus people ride bikes, skate on in-line skates and ride skateboards.

Are these people breaking the law?

For anyone riding a skateboard, the answer is yes.

According to ordinance four of the University’s Traffic Regulation Ordinances, people are prohibited from riding skateboards on properties the University owns, leases or occupies.

The ordinance was probably created because the regents who wrote it noticed that skateboards were being used for tricks that damaged University property, University police Capt. Steve Johnson said.

“Paint scratched off the hand railings, nicks in the street benches, damage done to buildings – the list goes on and on,” Johnson said. “It adds up to thousands of dollars in repairs.”

Though skateboarders could be charged with a petty misdemeanor or have their skateboards confiscated if caught, many still skateboard.

Sophomore George Pagel, who has skateboarded for more than six years, said he was once stopped by an officer and told not to skateboard on campus grounds. He continues to ride, he said, and many times he can pass a squad car without being stopped.

“The first couple of weeks this year, I was cautious of the cops,” Pagel said. “Usually I just try and get to where I’m going without causing much trouble.”

While some use skateboards to get around, others use their boards to perform tricks. One trick, known as a grind, allows the rider to slide along the ledge of a flat surface while still in motion.

Johnson said the University is a perfect place to practice such tricks because of its many smooth concrete ledges.

People come from all around the state to board at the University, and many of the offenders are nonstudents and kids from the surrounding area, he said.

“We are here to protect the University and make the campus safe for the public,” Johnson said. “This isn’t a park to do tricks or riding. It’s a school.”

Coffman Union director Maggie Towle said clip guards were bolted onto many of Coffman’s ledges to prevent people from grinding on them. Signs were also posted around the building, and the staff keeps an eye out for offenders.

“It’s not like we constantly stand outside the building and look for people,” Towle said.

The staff only has problems with skateboarders when they block entryways or cause problems for pedestrians, she said.

While damage prevention has been directed at skateboards, in-line skates have not been overlooked.

The same ordinance that regulates skateboards refers to in-line skates as well. However, instead of prohibiting in-line skates, the ordinance instructs people to use them in a “prudent and careful manner, with reasonable regard for the safety of the operator and other persons.”

The officers decide what is responsible and safe, Johnson said. If officers are on call and patrolling, they will monitor bikes, in-line skates and everything else, he said.

“If we are right there in uniform, and see you do something that breaks the law, we will stop you,” he said. “If we get a call or complaint, we respond. We won’t ignore anything.”