GH officials look at allowing skateboarding on streets

Grand Haven City Council is mulling an ordinance update that would allow people to ride skateboards on city streets. "Skateboarding is not a crime,' City Councilman Mike Fritz said at Tuesday night's council meeting. "It is really not a crime - I truly believe that.' Fritz said that skateboarding isn't different than riding in the street on a bicycle or jogging in the road. "We're not rigid with runners, we're not rigid with bicycles and we don't have to be rigid with skateboards,' he said.
Alex Doty
Sep 9, 2011

Based on the proposed amendment, skateboarding would be allowed on public streets if riders were on the extreme right of the road, riding in a single file line, yielding to other vehicles and pedestrians, over the age of 15 years and wearing reflective clothing after dusk.

Riding a skateboard on the boardwalk would be changed to a civil infraction instead of a misdemeanor.

John Butler — who owns the Smokin’ Mad Love longboard shop, 5 N. Seventh St. — said he was supportive of the idea of allowing skateboarding in Grand Haven streets.

“In cities like New York, they want skateboarders in the streets because it’s safer than the sidewalk,” he said.

Butler also said any worries about young children riding in the street were unfounded. “You don’t see a young child with training wheels riding in the streets,” he said.

Grand Haven Department of Public Safety Capt. Rick Yonker said if the city were to pass an updated ordinance, the GHDPS command would like to tweak some of the language.

City Council approved an introductory ordinance on Tuesday.

“We will put together a final version and will bring it back next meeting,” City Manager Pat McGinnis said.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

Comments

hgfase

Grand Haven City Council, better take a good hard long look at the wisdom of what you are contemplating. No skateboarding is not a crime, but take in account to the "maturity" of the main users of skateboarding and placing them in a position to use city roads and whether they will take heed to basic safety. I have seen many skateboarders now, going right down the middle of Washington Ave, and it is not legal, what limits are going to be tested when you give them the OK to use city streets. I know I would be devasted, if I were the one voting for such a measure upon the "death" of a single young life ! Think hard !!!!!!

butlerCA

It's becoming a regular theme here that the police department revokes privileges for all, instead of citing the individual offenders. (And I'm speaking of more than just the longboarding law) Parents should have the responsibility of teaching their children the rules of the road if they are to ride on the streets, although I believe no one under 16 should be allowed in the road on any type of vehicle, bike, longboard or skateboard. If they can't drive, they don't belong in the road. That being said, I would like to have my privileges back, as I am 24 years old and have done nothing wrong. There just needs to be guidelines, not all out prohibition.

I'd like to see the neighborhood kids out doing something productive like exercising, instead of sitting inside playing video games. As unsafe as longboarding in the streets seems, it is in some cases more dangerous to longboard on the sidewalks in some areas. As long as some rules and education are in place, I vote for 16+ riders to be allowed in the street.

butlerCA

...And if you're really worried about skateboarders dying, how about making helmets mandatory at the skate park, as they are at most others.

plutonium

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained personal attacks. Discussion Guidelines

GH55

Skateboarding at night with "reflective clothing"? What does that mean?
A bicyclist is supposed to have lights on their bike when they ride at night. Are the skateboarders going to "stop" at all the stop signs like all the bikers are supposed to do?
This is not a good idea, skateboards are not truly under the control of the operator. the only way they can stop in a hurry is to bail out, then where does the board go?
This is definitely not a good idea.

butlerCA

In most cases, bikers rarely stop at intersections. Last week I had a fifty year old man "Skitching" on my car on his road bike. And yes, the user of a longboard is well under control of their vehicle. Dragging a foot can bring you to a stop in under 10 feet. The problem is that there are people riding longboards in the street that haven't ridden for long enough to know how to control the board. Anyone with common sense would not ride in the road if not well versed, but longboarding has become such a fad in the last year or so, that some choose to ignore that. I do believe that those 16 and under should not be allowed in the road, as they cannot drive, and therefore cannot understand the rules of the road or how traffic moves.

MR D

It really doesn't matter what is decided, the police in this town are to lazy to do their job anyway. The bicycles ride on the sidewalks downtown bumping into pedestrians and nothing is done about it.

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