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U of U professor injured by long boarders discusses campus rules regarding skaters

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Posted at 6:56 PM, Aug 25, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-25 20:58:40-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Youtube is full of videos showing longboarders speeding down the sidewalks that line the University of Utah campus, and a professor was only recently able to return to work after being injured by a longboarder last year.

Skating faster than 10 miles per hour on campus is actually against university policy, and Communication Professor Leonard Hawes knows firsthand why the ordinance exists.

Last year, he needed multiple surgeries after colliding with a longboarder while walking to his car after class.

“He hit me in my left shoulder, knocked me off the sidewalk onto some rocks on my right hip,” he said. “They all stayed on their board, and as they rode off they were laughing.”

Hawes said he knew he was injured, but he had no idea how badly until the next morning.

“It got increasingly painful,” he said. “As the adrenaline, or the shock, wore off, the pain increased. So I didn’t get much sleep that night, and as it turned out, I needed a left shoulder replacement and a right hip replacement.”

Hawes said he still doesn’t know who the longboarder was or if he was a student, but he's pretty certain the boarder meant to hit him.

The injuries took Hawes off campus for nearly a year, but now he's back teaching and campus police have said they plan to add more officers and patrol more closely. But Hawes said enforcement is the challenge.

"Of course they're going to have to figure out how the police on campus, not in patrol cars, can apprehend boarders who are going in excess of the speed limit, that’s the challenge,” Hawes said.

According to the ordinance, failure to yield to pedestrians and maintain a reasonable speed could result in a fine and the impoundment of the board.