Students cruising through the Arbor on foot, skateboard or bike today will be met by a human wall armed with signs that read, “Bikes Are Replaceable, But I’m Not.”
The Associated Students Commission On Disability Access (CODA) is organizing the event, and the wall of human bodies is scheduled to go up between 11:45 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. Ali Sprott, CODA co-president and a fourth-year political science major, said disabled people face a daily task of maneuvering around inconsiderate skaters and bicyclists and that the event is meant to encourage proper sidewalk etiquette and safety on campus.
“Our goal is not to block the Arbor but to make an obstacle for students in order to promote safety and awareness,” Sprott said.
Although there will be up to 27 students volunteering as walkway obstacles, there will be enough space in between each person to allow for the flow of traffic, Sprott said.
The group organized the event — which is the first of its kind on campus — after a skateboarder ran into a Seeing Eye dog and did not stop during a CODA-sponsored educational workshop about visual impairment last week, Sprott said.
CODA is not asking for skateboards to be banned from campus, Sprott said.
“We are not saying no to skateboards, but we are trying to help people understand that not everyone can see [skateboarders] coming,” she said.
Jim Marston, a researcher in the UCSB Geography Dept. and an advocate for the disabled on campus, said skateboarding etiquette on campus needs to change.
“The future of skateboarding on campus is up to the skateboarders,” Marston said. “Other schools have banned them because of the irresponsible use, complaints and accidents. Some people feel as though they are being used as an obstacle course.”
Kevin O’Brien, a second-year English major and a skateboarder, said he does not think the event will be effective in educating students about walkway safety.
“Every skateboarder has to watch out for people regardless [of] if they are disabled or not,” he said. “I think that the human wall event is pointless, though, because I don’t think it will change anything.”
Despite its $120 fine, biking on walkways is also a problem, said Tiffany Kim, CODA secretary. Kim, who is visually impaired, said bike underpasses, such as the one connecting Isla Vista to campus at Pardall Road, can be especially dangerous.
“Underpasses can be intimidating because they echo and when people skateboard you cannot tell where they are coming from,” she said.