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Campus Bans Skaters in Attempt to Reduce Risks

September 19, 1986|MARC IGLER | Times Staff Writer

Skateboarding and roller-skating, both popular modes of transportation among students at California State University, Northridge will not be allowed on the campus this school year.

University officials acknowledge that the crackdown will be difficult to enforce but say it is necessary for public safety.

"I don't have anything against skateboards. It's just that they do present a danger, and a university campus is not the proper place for them," CSUN Police Chief Stanley Friedman said. "It may slow some people down, even to the point of being late for class, but what we're talking here is risk management."

No Serious Injuries

No one on campus has been seriously injured because of skateboard or roller-skating accidents, but there have been "a few potentially disastrous near misses," Friedman said.

The crackdown, he said, is designed primarily to protect hundreds of deaf and disabled students who either cannot hear skates or cannot move quickly enough to get out of the way.

A section of the California Vehicle Code adopted in 1980 gave police on public campuses the authority to issue citations for skating and skateboarding. But police at CSUN and other campuses have routinely looked the other way.

School officials earlier this month posted signs picturing a skateboard with a line through it.

Campus police are first issuing warnings to violators and taking their names, Friedman said. The names--about two dozen so far--are being kept on file at police headquarters, he said.

Offenders caught a second time will be fined $18, Friedman said. Further violations will bring more fines and "a chat with the dean of students," he said.

Students riding skateboards on campus Thursday expressed displeasure with the crackdown.

"I just don't see the point," junior Ken Kaplan said. "This is a big campus. Sometimes it's literally more than a half-mile in between campus (locations). . . . As long as you ride responsibly and not cruise in between pedestrians, they should let us alone."

Kaplan complained that skateboarders and roller-skaters are being singled out.

"What about the people on bicycles who cut you off? They're worse than us," he said. "I've even been cut off by people in wheelchairs. This is discrimination."

Friedman said the university is considering restrictions on bicyclists too.

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