Last year the UPD gave 112 tickets to skateboarders.
“The only time skateboards are legal on campus is when they are being held,” Sgt. Robert Eckrote said. “There is no riding allowed at all on any of Cal Poly’s property.”
No one at the UPD knows exactly when the law was implemented, but Sgt. Lori Hashim said it has been around for more than 20 years. The officers’ concern is with the safety of riders and bystanders and with property damage and related costs. There is also a potential danger to motorists.
“There is a possibility of a driver swerving to avoid a skateboard and colliding with another vehicle or pedestrian,” he said.
The UPD has medical reports of injuries reported, but they do not keep statistics of specific injuries so a number for people injured from skateboards is not available. Health & Counseling Services also does not keep data of injuries on campus. “We don’t have statistical information but the majority of accidents we see are from skateboard and bike falls,” administrative analyst Alexandra Kohler said.
Despite the ban and dangers, skaters can be seen around campus holding and riding their boards.
Nick Shellhammer, a horticulture junior, skateboards to school but not on campus. Though he follows the law, he doesn’t agree with it. “I don’t think it should be illegal unless people are vandalizing,” he said. “I swear I see more bikers swerving between people than I do skateboarders.”
There is more of a concern for people skating and doing tricks than those skating for transportation. Skateboard tricks cause property damage and mean replacement of benches, curbs and rails.
Associate director of facility services Doug Overman said property damage on campus is nowhere near the problem it used to be. “Skateboarding damage has really tapered off,” he said. “Five or six years ago it was a problem; skate parks have made it less of one.”
When caught riding on campus the UPD will first give a warning, then citations thereafter. Violators have the option to attend a bicycle and skateboard diversion class, which will clear them of a first citation. Several years ago, the fine was $25 for every offense.
“Skaters were willing to risk riding and pay the fine,” police records manager Fred Mills said. “The UPD went to court to elevate prices and have fees increase for every continuing offense.”
Fines for skateboarding start at $146 for the first, $190 for the second and $380 if caught a third time. Rollerblades and scooters, like Razors, are also prohibited.