City's new skateboarding ordinance approved

Grand Haven residents will now have one more mode of transportation to get around town. City Council voted 3-2 Monday night to allow skateboarding and other wheeled modes of personal transit on city streets as means of transportation, but not for doing stunts or tricks.
Alex Doty
Dec 8, 2011


Councilmen Bob Monetza and John Hierholzer voted against the measure.

Although he voted against it, Monetza said the ordinance is specific in what it’s intended to do.

“I think there’s a perception that we’re turning people loose in the streets to do a lot of strange things,” he said. “We’re still trying to maintain control over reckless behavior.”

The approved ordinance states that skateboarding is not prohibited outright on local streets. Prohibited conduct would include riding on the back of someone’s vehicle, riding on the sidewalk, riding on the boardwalk, riding on the Washington Avenue sidewalk between Harbor Drive and Third Street from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and riding in a “reckless manner.”

The ordinance will take effect 20 days after its adoption by City Council, or upon publication.

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



Reckless and Irresponsible ! Hope this council can live with themselves, when the un thinkable (and preventable) happens.... I certainly did not go to the polls to vote for these council members to be passing ordinance's of this nature....

Fly on the Wall

"the un thinkable"

How about we ease up on the strawmen already?
The projected emotions do nothing to validate the opposition to this nonsensical "ordinance"..


'Still trying to maintain control over reckless behavior', I question that comment. Personally, I think the Council voted 'recklessness' into our lives. Were they thinking of the elderly, who find it difficult to move out of the way of tthe skateboarders who zig-zag, in a fast manner, through the people on the sidewalks? No one stops the skateboarders, no one slows them down. What is reckless behavior to us is just a cruise down the sidewalk to them.

Fly on the Wall


Reading is fundamental. The ordinance was changed to keep skateboards off the sidewalk, where your elderly "victims" walk.

Come on team; move the debate off the playground to a position from where you can be taken seriously!


Ha.. Were they thinking of the elderly?! Finally, for once they haven't. No, the elderly don't ride skateboards. They recklessly drive around town not using their blinkers and rolling through stop signs. This town has been doing the ordinance dance for the elderly by the elderly for far too long. They stopped short of banning teenagers altogether only because it is age discrimination. Go skate. Freely and safely.

What is truly reckless and irresponsible hgfase, is the number of people in their 80-90's that still have their drivers licenses around here.
Forward Movement

We are so grateful to the wise City Council Members for passing the ordinance to allow skateboarding on the Grand Haven city streets. Longboarding, most commonly used as a mode of transportation, has evolved so much in the past 5 years we think it's time people not accustomed to it's benefits take notice to some of the wonderful health and environmental benefits it brings. Longboarding (which is usually using a board around 38" instead of the 30" skateboard) is often picked up by more people in general as it is easier to learn on, offers a lower center of gravity making it more stable and safe, and uses much bigger wheels which travel over stones and such simpler, are quieter and softer giving you more distance per push. With gas prices as they are, Longboarding offers transportation similar to that of biking, using four wheels instead of two.

It should be noted big cities are allowing skateboarding as a means of transportation now as well, Grand Haven is stepping up by allowing it among our streets. The laws for the ordinance are strict and still give a lot of leeway for officers to ticket persons not using the law as intended. Here is how the NYPD lays it out for skateboarders which you will notice is similar to ours';

Section 1230. These laws apply to skating on public roads, on private roads open to public traffic, and on all bike and skate trails.
Section 1231. You have similar rights and duties as are held by the driver of a motor vehicle. In other words, skating on public roads (excluding expressways, interstates and certain other roads) is legal but you must honor all traffic laws (e.g., obey traffic lights, no wrong-way skating, etc.).
Section 1233. You may not attach yourself to any vehicle in motion, i.e., no “skitching”.
Section 1234. If there is a bike/skate lane, you must use it. If not, you must skate as far to the right side of the street as possible so as to not interfere with traffic. If you are skating in a group, you may not skate more than two abreast. You must skate single file if there is other traffic which wishes to pass by you.
Section 1235. You may not carry any article or package which would obstruct your view.
Section 1238. Any child under 14 must wear a helmet when skating. This is a $50 offense, the ticket being issued to the skater’s parent/guardian. When skating at night, you must wear a jacket or other clothing with reflective material.

In October we, the Smokin Mad Love Crew from Grand Haven skated with over 1,000 Longboarders through the streets of Broadway and the NYPD was nice and accommodating to this and adopted it as a parade in ways. Every day around the world people are adopting Longboarding as a safe and environmental way of transportation. The L.A Times wrote a great article in August of 2008 stating there are an estimated 750,000 Longboarders in the United States alone, and that number has significantly increased in the past three almost four years. Here is a link provided to help people understand,. We believe it is the hope of all citizens in Grand Haven to have healthy, strong, respectable, smart and kind people in our community. The Smokin Mad Love LaBoardatory, located on 5 North 7th Street in Grand Haven, was the second Longboard Exclusive Shop opened in the U.S., quickly followed by another in California. Jon Butler and Blair Butterworth manufacture and sell Smokin Mad Love Longboards here and in seven states to date and have been working at this for the past four years. SML believes so strongly in family and the passion in skating being shared by families, friends and the community, we hold Longboarding groups and lessons to enrich the skaters that surround us. It will be our mission to further educate the skaters in respectable Longboarding proving this to be a great and positive move for our community. Educate yourself about Longboarding before judgements are made. "Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence."
Robert Frost


first weed now skateboarding.....oh no.....have the dutch Nazi's lost control...?


While many may expect "Mayhem in the streets" what this ordinance really does is to allow safe reasonable use by the boarders, without the constant fear of tickets and confiscation of expensive equipment. I applaud the council for allowing Grand Haven to embrace this new form of transportation while giving reasonable regulation. I hope all who longboard will act responsibly and encourage the safe and legal use within their peer group. Ride safe and show the council they made a good decision!


Whether you are for allowing skateboarders on our public streets or not, there are still some issues of concern that have not been addressed by the City of Grand Haven. It still has not been explained as to how this ordinance is legal for the City to adopt in the first place. Our State law (257.655) is clear that pedestrians are not allowed in the traveled portion of the highway where sidewalks are provided. The Uniform Traffic Code, which has been adopted into Grand Haven’s local ordinance is clear that a skateboarder “shall be considered a pedestrian and is subject to all the rights and duties of a pedestrian” (R28.1204 Rule 204). The last time I checked the citizens of Grand Haven still have the responsibility to obey and abide by State Law as well as our local ordinances. Am I missing something here? Again I ask how is the City getting around this issue? As it stands now the City has created a local ordinance that is in conflict with our State Law and the Uniform Traffic Code. If we felt that strongly about allowing people to skateboard in the roadway, should we not have petitioned our State Legislators in order to get the State Law / UTC amended or changed before we created a conflict by creating a local ordinance? I believe we have the cart in front of the horse.

How are our local law enforcement officers expected to handle this? Do we expect them to turn a blind eye to what our State Law and UTC mandate merely because we create an ordinance that permits skateboarding in the roadway? Our officers have taken an oath of office to uphold the laws in the City of Grand Haven. This includes State Law. Is this not a conflict? Even if we discourage our local police from enforcing the State Law, within the City Limits, what stops the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department, or the Michigan State Police from enforcing State Law in our City if they encounter a Skate boarder on the City streets? Surely we cannot expect them to turn a blind eye to what laws are already on the books as well.


One other issue that I forgot to bring up in my last post concerning how the City created this ordinance: The City of Grand Haven Often consults the Michigan Municipal League concerning various issues when creating policy, ordinance, etc... The MML is their legal consultant, similar to how we consult an attorney for various legal issues. Well, the MML created a manual for how local ordinances are to be created. It is titled “Local Ordinances” “Handbook for Municipal Officials – Roles & Responsibilities” The direction given within this handbook is very clear. To quote the handbook there is a heading titled “Consistency with state and federal laws and local charters”. Under this heading it states “The provisions of an ordinance must be consistent with state law; the ordinance may not conflict with or be preempted by a state law. The same holds true for federal law. A direct conflict exists if an ordinance permits what a state statute prohibits or prohibits what a state statute permits.” For further information you can consult the handbook yourself at

In other words, the City did not follow the legal advice given to them by the Michigan Municipal League when they created this ordinance. It is in conflict with State Law. There is no way around this unless the State Law and Uniform Traffic Code are amended to permit skate boarders in the roadway where sidewalks are provided. What does this mean to our citizens? In my opinion it means they are still subject to being issued a traffic citation for skateboarding in the roadway regardless of what this new ordinance says is permissible. Our citizens should be able to expect that these conflicts do not occur when new ordinance is created and passed. I do not believe that this is fair to our citizens.


Well, I don't think there is any bad intention of skateboarding though there is a big chance of damage what's mentioned here but the ultimate relief from this stress is that Councilmen has taken a fair decision for all. Thanks Bob!
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