The university released a host of statistics concerning skateboard safety on Monday.
The statistics are the result of the On-Campus Skateboard Safety Survey conducted via e-mail during Fall Quarter by the Skateboard Committee, which was convened by the university to review skateboarding safety on campus and consider potential solutions. The findings show that 86 percent of undergraduates do not know of the rules regarding skateboarding on campus, or even where to find them.
Ryan Pabkaz, a second-year computer engineering major who skateboards to and from class was not aware that these rules even existed.
“We have a campus skateboard policy?” he said.
The random open survey found that of the 36 percent of undergraduates who skateboard on or around campus, 14 percent have been in an accident caused by a pedestrian. A quarter of the participants of the survey claim that a skateboarder had hit them, and 66 percent said they had almost been hit.
Chris Kim, a second-year business economics major, said he is one of the pedestrians who has been in an accident, and attributed the danger to negligence on the part of skateboarders.
“I was hit head on by a skateboarder who was texting on his cell while skateboarding on the bike path,” Kim said, “He wasn’t paying attention and glided into the opposite lane and hit me head on.”
Despite these dangers, the survey found overwhelming opposition to a campuswide ban on skateboarding. Only 15 percent of pedestrians and three percent of skateboarders supported a possible ban.
The survey also collected statements from skateboarders who had been involved in accidents. From these comments, the committee concluded that panicking pedestrians played a significant role in the danger surrounding skateboarding.
Pabkaz agreed, saying that while he has not been in any accidents he has seen this behavior contribute to many near misses.
“I think the major problem is that [pedestrians] kind of get all ‘deer-in-headlights’ seeing an approaching skateboarder,” Pabkaz said. “It’d be better if they kept walking.”
Raymond Collins, Associated Students off-campus representative and Skateboard Committee member, said the survey results prompted this week to be named “Skateboard Awareness Week,” which consists of students, administrators and police officers tabling to answer questions concerning skateboarding safety and policy.
Collins said he believes that the majority of skateboarders only need to make a few minor changes to their habits in order to significantly increase safety on campus.
“If students can change the way they skateboard on campus to be [safer], the number of accidents will decrease and we will maintain the privilege of skating on campus,” he said.
The skateboard committee will enact several measures in response to the survey’s findings, including an increase in signs directing pedestrians, skateboarders and bicyclists.
Additionally, Collins said the university is planning to build a skateboard lane from Humanities and Social Sciences Building to Davidson Library. He said construction will begin once student organizations raise the second half of the necessary funds.
The full results of the survey can be viewed online at www.vcadmin.ucsb.edu/skateboard.html.