By Michelle CannizzoColumnist
It’s 7:56 a.m., and you’re power walking to your first class of the day, all the while wondering what you were thinking deciding to take an 8:00 a.m. class in the first place, when suddenly your hear the sound of wheels rolling up behind you. In a moment of pure fight or flight instinct, you step to your left, then to your right, trying to find an escape route. But it is too late.
Your arm is bumped forward, and your coffee spills all over the walkway. You mourn the loss of your beloved caffeine boost and become annoyed; this is the second time this week that you’ve collided with a student on wheels, and it’s only Wednesday.
It is occurrences like these that raise the question, are alternative modes of cross-campus transportation, such as bikes, scooters, skateboards and longboards, absolutely necessary?
Personally, I feel that there is no need for transportation by wheels, whether in the form of a large bike or a miniature skateboard, on the academic side of Hofstra’s campus. My reasons for feeling this way are the following:
First, it is inconvenient to store your ride during class time. If you bring your board or scooter into the classroom, you must then find a place for it that is out of the way of other students. If you choose not to bring your board or scooter into the classroom, you then run the risk of it being stolen.
Second, due to their speed and lack of control, wheeled modes of transportation are potentially hazardous to students who choose to walk, especially to those who choose to pay more attention to their iPhones than their surroundings.
And third, when traveling on wheels, you risk bringing harm to yourself.
According a recent study published by LiveScience, a staggering 824 people were admitted to a Utah trauma center for either skateboard- or longboard-related injuries between the years 2006 and 2011. The study found that longboards were actually the cause for more damage than were skateboards, resulting in 57.5 percent of injuries, as compared to skateboard’s 42.5 percent.
Further, the study revealed that “among longboarders, 8 percent had a head fracture, 31 percent had a traumatic brain injury and 14 percent had an intracranial hemorrhage. Among skateboarders, 0.5 percent had a head fracture, 12 percent had a traumatic brain injury, and none had an intracranial hemorrhage.”
Such findings are, in part, due to longboarders’ tendency to ride in public places – such as college campuses? – rather than at skate parks. They are also less likely to wear helmets in order to achieve feelings of freedom.
So why not replace wheels with walking? Walking is still good exercise, and it is certainly doable with Hofstra’s South Campus being less than a mile long.
Wheeled modes of cross-campus transportation are unnecessary, inconvenient and potentially dangerous for both riders and walkers. But please, if you must choose wheels over walking shoes for your trek to class, at least wear a helmet.