U Of A Students Introduce Scooter Safety Bill Named After Classmate

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FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) -- A bill to implement a scooter safety program at the University of Arkansas is making its way through the Associated Student Government.

Pegged as the Pangburn Safety Awareness Act of 2016, the bill is named after Cole Pangburn who died in a scooter accident Sept. 6. Pangburn was not wearing a helmet when he lost control and crashed on campus, marking the first scooter related death at the university.

"I didn't have the privilege of knowing him, but I've heard many great things about him," said Trevor Villines, a student senator and lead author of the bill. "I wish I had the opportunity."

The bill passed the student senate unanimously Tuesday (Nov. 29). It will go before the Graduate Student Congress during a regular meeting on Dec. 8.

The Pangburn Safety Awareness Act of 2016 aims to make several changes to create a scooter safety culture on campus starting with the Helmets are Sexy campaign created in the memory of Pangburn.

"[The campaign] is a tangible way of getting students to go out and wear their helmets and understand that 'Hey, it's not a fad, it's not a trend, it's a serious issue that must be taken seriously'," said Connor Flocks, student government president. "That's what we hope to aim for."

Current law requires students under the age of 21 to wear a helmet, but Flocks said enforcement is nearly impossible. The bill would allow the student government to work with the Department of Transit and Parking by requiring an online safety course before obtaining a scooter permit.

To soften the cost factor, which could deter students from buying a helmet, the university would team up with a local scooter shop to sell helmets at whole sale prices, Villines said.

Helmets are Sexy flyers, buttons and T-shirts will be rolled out in the spring semester in hopes of getting more and more of the over 1,300 scooter riders on campus to wear a helmet.

"It's not this big, bulky thing you have to carry around, but it saves lives. That's what they're there for," Flocks said. "So, just for students to see other students wearing helmets and understand that it's a smart thing to do and it matters to not let Cole's legacy go in vain."