Hoverboards included in WKU recreational mobility policy

Signs banning the use of motorized scooters and skateboards hang on entrance doors at Downing Student Union, Nov. 30. Shaban Athuman/HERALD

Monica Kast

Signs went up in Downing Student Union last week reminding students that hoverboards and other motorized vehicles are not allowed in any buildings on campus, including DSU. 

The signs were posted as a reminder to students that motorized vehicles can’t be ridden around campus buildings. The reminder came after a number of students began zipping through DSU on hoverboards and unicycles, which have grown in popularity this semester.

According to the WKU Student Code of Conduct’s section on Recreational Mobility, skateboards, scooters and other motorized vehicles, like the two-wheeled hoverboards, unicycles and scooters, “may not be used inside buildings or within 50 feet of building entrances.”

“Skateboards, skates and bicycles may be used on sidewalks for safe transportation purposes only. When using sidewalks, remember pedestrians have the right of way … motorized scooters, mopeds, motorcycles, and similarly motorized vehicles are not to be used on sidewalks or in pedestrian traffic areas,” the University Student Code of Conduct reads. 

Savannah Bell, a freshman from Glasgow, uses a hoverboard unicycle to get around campus. She said the unicycle weighs about 20 pounds, and she has to pick it up and carry it when she enters buildings on campus. 

“It’s the main way I get around campus, as long as it’s not raining,” she said. 

She added that not allowing the hoverboards in buildings will not change the way she uses her own hoverboard, and she plans to continue to ride it to and from class.

“I can see the argument for safety,” she said, regarding the policy. “However, personally, I would like them to be allowed in buildings. Twenty pounds is a lot to pick up and lug around.”

Presently, there will not be a change to the current policy, just signs put up reminding students of and enforcing the policy, according to the Office of Judicial Affairs. Previously, students were riding the hoverboards and scooters in buildings on campus, including DSU and other academic buildings. 

Charley Pride, director of Student Activities and Organizations, said the signs were put up to inform students that hoverboards are included in the current motorized vehicle policy. 

“All motorized single person units are included in the vehicle policy,” he said. 

He went on to add that if a student is caught breaking the policy and riding a motorized vehicle in a building, they would first receive a warning.

“First, we want to educate people and let them know that it’s not an appropriate behavior and it’s against policy,” he said. “If the behavior continues, that is when we will turn them over to the Office of Judicial Affairs.”

The only change happening on campus is that signs were put up reinforcing the current policy.

“I think that this will make people safer,” Katelyn Essex, a sophomore from Louisville, said. “People zipping around on those things in buildings can be potentially dangerous.”

Essex said last week, she and some friends were on their way to dinner and saw a student on a hoverboard in DSU. The student was “weaving in and around people,” she said, and rode the hoverboard into Red Zone. 

“We were walking at a normal pace,” she said. “A guy on a hoverboard was going faster than us, obviously, and rolled right around us and essentially cut in front of us in line for food. Maybe this will stop that from happening again.”