Students on wheels navigate campus

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Due to record enrollment and a decrease in available parking spaces, many Fresno State students seek out alternative methods of transportation, such as bicycles, scooters and skateboards, as a way to get around the campus. Photo Rachel Taylor

The sound of wheels traveling over creases in the concrete is the only warning some students have before colliding with one of their fellow students.

Hundreds of students use bicycles, skateboards and scooters to travel around Fresno State’s 388-acre campus. But, according to the university’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety, Risk Management and Sustainability (EHS RMS), students who use these modes of transportation need to be more careful.

“People are getting hurt,” said manager Lisa Kao. “It’s mostly abrasions, people getting scraped up. Nothing terribly serious, but it can be prevented.”

Kao said her office is notified whenever a student gets into an accident and seeks treatment at the Student Health Center. She said the most common mishaps are bicycle accidents.

“Riding a bike is a hazard,” Kao said. “It’s hazardous for those around them and the person riding the bike.”

Desiree Diaz is a junior who has been riding a bike around campus for two years. She said riding around campus is simply a more efficient choice than walking.

“I have to travel from one side of the campus to another quickly, and walking just won’t cut it,” Diaz said.

Diaz agreed, however, that riding a bike on a campus with so many pedestrians is potentially hazardous.

“The scariest part is when there are a lot of people walking really slow, taking up the whole space and not staying on one side,” Diaz said. “I haven’t been in an accident, but I’ve seen people get hurt. I have to slow down and be aware of my surroundings.”

Alex Gutierrez is a student who rides his skateboard to class every day. He said the most dangerous thing about traveling around campus is people using their cell phones.

“People aren’t watching where they’re going,” he said. “There are so many people walking around texting, even on their scooters or skateboards. You just have to be as careful as possible.”

Kao said students should avoid using their cell phones while riding bikes, skateboards and scooters.

“Even on foot, it makes us a lot less attentive of what we are doing,” Kao said. “So when we have individuals who are on bicycles and skateboards and scooters who are using their phones, that’s even worse.”

Veronica Romo, a freshman who rides a scooter around campus, said that she does her best to stay safe, but collisions aren’t a huge concern to her.

“My biggest fear is falling from all the cracks in the road,” Romo said. “But I love my scooter. It’s easy to use. I’ll have a class way over at the Peters Education Center, and right after I have to come all the way over to the Social Science Building. My scooter gets me there on time.”

Kao agrees that riding bikes, skateboards and scooters around campus is efficient.

“I applaud the use of alternative transportation,” she said. “You just need to be aware that you’re sharing the walkways with a lot of people that may not necessarily be paying 100 percent attention.”

Kao’s said her advice to students traveling around campus is simple.

“Slow down,” she said. “Be careful, watch where you’re going and be aware of your surroundings.”