Lopez: Please watch where you are going

Bryant Lopez advocates for the importance of staying alert while skating or traveling around campus. - Features Editor / Drew Peltzman

This is my public service announcement – watch where you are going, think about other people and don’t freak out! To watch where you are going is a pretty simple thing to do but I feel as if people don’t do it these days.

All the time, I see many people on campus with their headphones in or looking at their phone as they walk. Don’t get me wrong, I am the same way. Whenever I am going somewhere by myself, I have my headphones blasting the one song I am addicted to that week. This week it is “Hurricane” by Bob Dylan, if you are wondering.

But even then I make a conscious effort to pay attention to where I am going and what is near me. This is a college campus with so much happening at once, especially during the middle of the day when people are trying to get to class. You have to be aware of other people walking – as well as bikers, skateboarders, scooter riders, cars, and the terrain of the campus.

I skate almost everywhere I go on campus with my headphones blasting, but I still am aware of where I am going as I look all around me as I skate. I understand that I need to be aware of multiple things at a time because it can cause me or others serious injuries.

The number of times I have almost crashed into someone or had someone almost crash into me because they were not paying attention or just being reckless is countless.

The most recent example of this happened to me last week. I was on my longboard with headphones in going around the roundabout to the crosswalk between 7/11 and the Discovery Hall parking lot. As I was turning into the crosswalk to go to 7/11, I felt something hit me from behind. I crash into the ground and luckily did not have any serious injury.

As I got up, I see that it was a biker that hit me from behind. I got up and went on with my day as I was worrying about the amount of work I was procrastinating at the time. Now this person was either not paying attention or just riding recklessly. Either way, pay attention to where you are going and understand that you have to worry about other people.

This leads me to my other topic: don’t freak out when you see someone on a board or bike. For some odd reason, people become really indecisive when they see me on a board. They do one of two things:
number one, they stop completely in their tracks no matter what is happening around them.

Number two they play the cat-and-mouse game, where they can not decide whether to go left or right from the middle of the path. This happens even when the person sees the rider from a long distance.

This makes the rider have to guess what direction the person is going and if they guess wrong, they get rewarded with one or two people getting hurt. If the person simply picks a side then the rider should have enough time to go the opposite way of the direction chosen.

I remember one time when I was riding down the walkway and a person turned around and saw me. This became my downfall because somehow I crashed into the person. The walkway was huge and empty with zero people. The person was in the middle of the walkway. He had so many options but somehow chose the wrong one.

He could have kept walking in the middle of the walkway and I would have simply gone around him. He could have gone left or right while I rode down the middle. Instead, he went right so I kept going straight, then at last minute this person changed his mind and went back in the middle. This gave me zero time to react so I tried turning to my left, but I was too late and crashed into the person.

To this person’s credit, he did apologize and said it was completely his fault which I appreciated, to say the least.

The moral of these stories is to watch where you are going, consider the other people around you, and don’t freak out when you see a rider.

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