Rail knobs stop skateboarders, annoy others


The number of jammed fingers and cracked nails have increased exponentially on a small area on south campus.

BYU underwent extensive remodeling and landscaping on the south end of campus over the summer and added obtrusive knobs to the rails of the towering stairwells. The purpose of the knobs is to prevent skateboarders from grinding down the steep handrails.

Some students complain the knobs have rendered the handrails unuseable.

[media-credit name=”Photo by Jamison Metzger ” align=”alignright” width=”200″][/media-credit]
Many of the railings on campus have knobs preventing damage from skateboarding.
Arrin Manning, an economics major from New Canaan, Conn., said she has a daily battle with the knobs.

“I start walking up the stairs everyday and say to myself, ‘Don’t use the handrails,’ and two minutes later let out a squeal after ramming my fingers into those obnoxious knobs,” Manning said.

According to Todd Hollingshead, university spokesman, the knobs were put into place as a precautionary measure.

“The knobs serve as a safety measure for students and campus guests since they act as a deterrence from activities that could result in injury to people using the stairways or walkways,” Hollingshead said in an email. “The knobs do prevent skateboarders from using the rails for unintended use.”

Alex Marchant, a finance graduate from West Bloomfield Township, Mich., said the rails are impractical.

“I’ve skateboarded my whole life and there’s no way Tony Hawk could grind the rails on the south end of campus,” Marchant said. “When was the last time you saw a skateboarder on the south end of campus? When was the last time you saw a skateboarder capable of grinding a 30-yard-rail with no landing zone? These rails do more harm than good.”

When questioned about the number of accidents on the south campus stairs, the university’s spokesman said no statistics have been gathered on the subject.

“We have had no reports of injuries,” Hollingshead said.

Perhaps students’ pride is preventing victims from reporting their injuries from the knobs.

Nate Miller, an economics major from Carlsbad, Calif., said he would never admit to a jammed finger on an official document.

“Yeah, I’m going to take the time to fill out a form after I jam my finger,” Miller said sarcastically. “Then I’m going to call my dad and tell him that he failed as a father.”

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