Despite the various construction projects on campus, many students were surprised yesterday when they found a newly formed human wall in the Arbor.
The wall, part of the Associated Students Commission On Disability Access (CODA)’s 2nd Annual Sidewalk Etiquette Action, consisted of several students dictating proper sidewalk etiquette to passersby from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
CODA commissioner and third-year film studies major Sam Marks said reckless cyclists and skateboarders riding illegally on the sidewalk often hit the visually impaired.
“The aim is to have people spread apart so that people can walk their bikes and skateboard slowly,” Marks said. “We want people to be able to get where they want to go, but to do so safely.”
The event began last year to assist disabled students who have to dodge bikes and skateboards on the sidewalks, Marks said. Because skateboards make so much noise and bikes are virtually silent, he said, visually impaired pedestrians have a difficult time pinpointing riders’ locations.
“We’ve actually had someone on campus have their guide dog hit a few times last year,” Marks said. “The dog now has messed-up hips.”
A.S. External Vice President of Statewide Affairs Bill Shiebler said he participated in the human wall this year and last, hoping to encourage students to be more careful when they use the campus sidewalks.
“I think it’s really important to make people aware that not everyone can hear or see you racing or speeding by on skateboards,” Shiebler said. “Sometimes we need to sacrifice convenience and speed to be inclusive and safe for everyone on campus.”
However, first-year political science major and skateboarder Brendan Daly said he does not believe the human wall will do much to influence the way people use campus walkways.
“Ultimately, it’s going to be up to the skateboarders to watch out for the visually impaired and everyone else,” Daly said, “It comes down to the individual to be responsible and mindful of their surroundings and watching out for people.”
Marks said CODA does not wish to ban skateboards from campus. He said the purpose of the event was to increase campus safety.
“Follow the rules: Don’t ride your bike on the sidewalk,” Marks said. “We want people to be able to get to where they’re going safely.”