Editorial: Wheeled monsters prevent sidewalk safety

Amidst the business and bustle of life on the campus of Arkansas Tech University, students from the university ground’s four corners commute to classes and meals generally on foot. For decades, walking along sidewalks has been considered one of the safest means of travel, not to mention a cultural norm. However, that all seems to have changed. Over a seemingly short period of time, the sidewalks have lost their protective layer. An army of wheeled monsters has invaded the once pedestrian-friendly lanes.

Before clarifying the description of the aforementioned wheeled monsters, it is important to understand these creatures are not all dangerous. Many follow laws of safety and common decency. To those few who commute safely and courteously, please continue to do so — you have our sincere gratitude.

At this time, these wheeled creatures cited earlier have appeared in at least three known forms — the bicycle, the motorized scooter and the skateboard. Each of the three have become detrimental, and on some occasions, dangerous for pedestrians commuting along sidewalks.

Concerning these issues, there are no definitive laws preventing skateboarders, scooter drivers or cyclists from riding on public sidewalks. However, the state of Arkansas does have ordinances that restrict using these “vehicles” in a reckless or potentially dangerous manner. Now, if weaving through pedestrian traffic on a motorized scooter or performing skateboard wheelies in a crowd is not considered reckless and dangerous, there is little to save us from the continued lack of courtesy.

Looking into the future, there does not seem to be much hope of preventing collisions between pedestrians and recreational vehicle drivers. But that does not automatically cancel out all options. Arkansas Tech University’s campus generally formulates its own laws, which are in turn enforced by the campus Public Safety Department. That being said, there is potential to the idea that, should unruly cyclists, skateboarders and scooter pilots continue to endanger pedestrians, rules may be enacted. These rules, if made into reality, will no doubt restrict the use of recreational vehicles on public sidewalks.

That being said, let us all work together to create a safer, commuter-friendly environment. That includes avoiding reckless acts or stunts while on recreational vehicles, as well as ridiculously high speeds. And for those who do not read this article, just know that showing off has a price.