City Council votes down skateboard ordinance

Grand Haven officials are going back to the drawing board on a plan that would make skateboard and longboard transportation in city streets legal. While members of City Council agreed in the idea of allowing board transportation legal, they voted 4-1 against the new ordinance. Councilman Mike Fritz was the sole supporter.
Alex Doty
Sep 21, 2011


Ed Nieuwenhuis, one of the council members who voted against the ordinance, called the proposed law “unenforceable.” Nieuwenhuis said he struggled with the decision since he saw examples of people riding safely along the side of the road for transportation purposes, as well as people recklessly riding their skateboards along area streets.

“This whole thing comes down to a matter of enforcement,” he said. “My opinion is — we don’t need this ordinance because it’s just another thing to enforce.”

Fritz said the reason the ordinance should be changed is because it doesn’t need strict enforcement, in which people are ticketed for riding a skateboard or longboard as a mode of transportation.

“The longboards — you can’t ride at the skate park,” he said.

While the proposed ordinance was shot down, city officials said they would like to revisit the issue and tweak the current language to make it possible for people using skateboards as a form of transportation to not get a ticket.

Currently, all skateboards and longboards are prohibited from being ridden in local streets.

“We don’t want to open a can of worms,” City Manager Pat McGinnis said. “But we don’t want to prohibit a rational, reasonable use by reasonable people.”


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