It was a busy August morning on UCF’s main campus. Gabrielle Prickett, a 25-year-old sport and exercise science major, was on her way to the Campus Store & Foxtail Cafe when she suddenly collided with a quick-moving bicyclist near John C. Hitt Library.
“I couldn’t help but yell at him. I was angry at how fast he was going, even when he could see a large crowd of us walking,” Prickett said. “It’s inconsiderate and dangerous.”
After dusting herself off, Prickett continued on her journey. She was relieved that no one was injured, but since then, Prickett said she feels paranoid while walking on campus.
Students like Prickett find themselves having to dodge other commuters on a daily basis. With the steady increase of students that attend the university, sidewalks are bustling with people.
In just one year, the enrollment headcount increased by 1,469 students from 2018 to 2019, according to UCF’s Institutional Knowledge Management database.
UCFPD reported that in 2018, there were eight bicycle-involved accidents and five pedestrian-involved accidents.
Emma Cahill is an 18-year-old hospitality major who rides her bike to class every week. Cahill plans her departure from her dormitory during times when there are less people taking up the pathways. She avoids certain sidewalks that are too small and has to take extra measures to have a smoother ride.
Despite her preparations, Cahill said she gets consistently nervous when heading to class on her bicycle.
“It would be easier if pedestrians stayed to the outside of the sidewalks so that skateboards, scooters and bikes have the middle,” Cahill said.
This battle for parts of the campus sidewalks has created a ‘turf war’ between commuters.
Skateboarders like Lau Martinez are among those who struggle during the scuffle for the sidewalks while traveling to and from class.
For Martinez, a 20-year-old management major, the most frustrating thing about riding his skateboard on campus is the amount of people in his way. He said some people don’t know how much room they take up.
“People will see me coming and either move in the wrong direction or don’t move at all,” Martinez said. “They just don’t get it.”
Martinez has been close to crashing into people, but said he would rather take the fall than hit someone on his skateboard.
In 2018, there were five medical responses to incidents involving people falling off their skateboards, according to UCFPD statistics. That number has increased, with 14 medical responses reported in 2019.
Although the turf war continues this semester, UCFPD encourages those traveling around campus to be aware of their surroundings and avoid distractions such as cell phones.
“Help keep UCF safe for everyone by obeying the rules of the road and looking out for one another,” said Amanda Sellers, a communications specialist for UCFPD. “Drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and skateboarders all share UCF’s campus.”