Longboarding Safely Around Campus

Campus these days is a real zoo. If you find yourself on chancellor's walk at a class change you might struggle to get where you're going quickly and safely. Follow these tips to avoid collisions with pedestrians and bicyclists and get where you're going in style.

1. Project where you're going. Often times when there is a crash it is caused by indecision. You can be indecisive OR, cause the indecisiveness in someone else that would cause them to get in your way. This could be indecision on your part about whether to slow down or speed up, make a gap between pedestrians, or go head on and tell that bicycle, "you better go on the grass because I can't and that is a one person gap, and I will be going through it sir or ma'am" Keep your board pointed where you intend to move, look that direction and move there without sudden changes.

2. Keep an eye out for the naive When you're walking on campus it is like a street. It is important to stay in your lane. Sometimes newer and stupider students will say, "Bye Friend" and dip immediately across the sidewalk towards their building without even looking at whats barreling towards them. OR will attempt to ride their bike or board straight across the sidewalk as if THAT is the way this street moves. That's paramount to not looking both ways before crossing the street. Someone on a bike or board is moving much faster than you and you're gonna make a collision for others. Don't blindly cross the moving traffic, and keep an eye out for those that potentially may.

3. Get off your board at cross walks You have the right of way, always, AS A PEDESTRIAN ped meaning foot. When on a coasting vehicle you are not a pedestrian. It is difficult for cars to see and prepare for a fast moving coasting vehicle coming at a crosswalk, others will just try to squeeze by and potentially will put a bicyclist or longboarder into the side of their car at 20 mph. If you must stay on your board, spot the intersection early and don't cross when you must rely on someone else to stop. Cross with other pedestrians, and wave and project good vibes when people stop for the crosswalk—it's a rule on campus. If people don't make sure and call them an asshole and be ready to back it up with a set of randals to the face if he wants to do anything about it. (just kidding but use your discretion wisely, don't say anything you can't back up and don't just be a douche for now reason)

4. Skate in the street if you must, but be respectful I skate in the turn lane on racine, only because the sidewalks suck really badly. The cops don't give me flack and you should only do this really close to campus where people are conditioned to the behavior, but be weary of those that are not. Be ready to stop in the turn lane if a car is turning, it really is their lane after all. On two lane roads Skate in the right lane, and when there is a car behind you either get off the board or switch to the left lane and be ready to hop off if there's an oncoming car, don't have some bicyclist mentality and make the car wait on you. It would be really something to know that if I went on a 5 mile bike ride, probably thousands of people would be inconvenienced by me because I can't go ride in the park, ride on the sidewalks, which is legal, or just not ride on a major major road at rush hour. Longboarders don't get or demand respect so don't be an asshole. The faster you go the less annoying it is for other vehicles. Ride on roads within your comfort zone and be respectful to others, don't be a "biker."

5. Learn to Tiger Claw and Foot Break These are simple techniques that are crucial if you're gonna skate on campus near people or in unfamiliar territory. When a pedestrian does something unexpected and you must stop or hit them, the foot break should be an instinct. Learn to balance on your support foot, and drag your push foot on the ground to come to a complete stop. The tiger claw involves stepping off the board flipping it up into your hand. You can do it at a run and it can help you stay moving if you need to jump up a curb, and it can be a lifesaver if you come up on an unexpected crack, gardening hose, obstacle etc…

6. Know the Campus Watch out for big cracks and memorize where they are. Lean back, tiger claw, or avoid them. Don't try to run and jump on your board near a huge crack or you'll look liek a noob when you turn your board over. Avoid bottlenecks such as right in front of morton and leutze-because those 2 bushes are just sooo beautiful there isn't open sidewalk and everyone has to walk there or look like a doofus riding their bike at 2 miles per hour. Might as well kick up the board and walk too if you end up there at a class change.

7. Wear Safety Gear and Skate within your limits This fortunately isn't greenville so you probably won't get called a "Faggot" by some tooly polo wearing guys for wearing a helmet or just for skating by. If you're doing stuff that pushes your limits consider wearing at the bear minimum a helmet, realize that campus is mostly flat though, and for the most part the faster you are moving, the more necessary a helmet is. Don't let me see you at PPD without one.

Practice Courtesy and Good Vibes, wear the proper safety equipment when necessary, wave to the people that act cool to you and don't participate in skateboarding stigma yourself, act respectful of others and have a good time.