LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Keep skateboarders off streets

Sep 14, 2011


I could hardly believe what I read. Where’s the allegation that skateboarding was a crime that warranted a Grand Haven councilman to state that: “Skateboarding was not a crime.” Did I miss a sentence? And then his statement that he doesn’t see the difference between bicycle riding, skateboarding or jogging on a street! I find such most contradictory with safety concepts.

Come on City Council! What’s happened to concern for safety of people using your public thoroughfares? The auto and truck driver driving streets designed, constructed, paid for by gas and license taxes, and maintained primarily for his/her use, has enough problems adhering to traffic signs, signals and other motor driven vehicles — let alone having to cope with bicyclists and joggers who sometimes display an unwillingness to recognize the competitive environment they are in. By such action they actually challenge their very existence.

While the vehicular drivers may like to think (and hope) the cyclist knows where he is, and is in full control of the bicycle, there is no assurance. The balance of the less-experienced riders (kids in particular) is a definite concern.

Skateboarders can’t claim even a positive directional control that bicycles have. A sudden swerve by a skateboarder from his/her intended direction could very possibly cause a passing auto or  truck driver to swerve into an oncoming vehicle. I could cite numerous reasons that would cause a skateboarder’s swerving.

So I write: For safety’s sake, let’s continue keeping skateboarding off our streets.

— Cornell D. Beukema, Spring Lake



I think its high time the city police, state police and sheriff department start enforcing the state laws and local ord. on bikes. Riding a bike, mopeds, or even skate boarding has road rules. Maybe if the police start stopping these clowns for violations under the Michigan vehicle code maybe the riders will learn from it. In the twp the tax payers have paid huge amounts of money for the "BIKE" paths... not sidewalks for bike riders to ride on. These bike riders violate the traffic laws daily... and I've never observed a bike pulled over for the traffic violation of running a stop sign. So we want to give the skate boarders the authorization to ride boards in the road or on sidewalks??? hopefully they will abide by the rules.... maybe what it has come down to is that the parents have not taught their children proper etiquette on bike riding, skate boarding, or even proper right away rules for pedestrians walking on "sidewalks" who does have the right away on city "sidewalks" see the Townships officially call those "bike paths" and those bikes riding on the bike paths even don't stop at intersections with stop signs.... even NON authorized or official bike races. So I would like to see the cops do their job... start ticketing these people....


There are no "bike paths" in the sense you are thinking. They are only colloquially known as "bike paths", and those that perpetuate this myth are doing everyone in this area a disservice. Including this newspaper. That term should be removed from the dictionary of this publication.
Read the Grand haven Township ordinances and see what I mean. they are path ways, or sidewalks, anything but a "bike path". There is no where in the "Sidewalks and Paths" Ordinance that mentions the term "bike path". So, we should all agree they are not "bike paths".
Second, if I happen to ride my bike on the "path way", I have to watch out for and yeild to all vehicles that happen to cross the path. I have no right of way in this situation. Then, as you mentioned, there are "stop" signs at each road crossing for the pedestrian path ways. So, I ask, would you drive your car on a service road, with no right of way over any other user, with "stop" signs every block, right next to a limited access highway. Or in this case, would you ride your bike on the sidewalk or on the paved shoulder of the road? I think that would be an easy answer.
I try to follow the rules of the road when I ride my bike ON THE ROAD where I rightfully belong as defined by the Michigna Vehicle Code. I signal, use lights at night, obey the traffic control signals. Unfortunately, there are plenty of folks out there that don't follow the rules. Again, unfortuantely, that problem is not confined to those on bikes. The worst is when a driver uses their vehicle as a device of intimidation, either with the horn or the vehicle itself.
I am all for cracking down on scofflaws. Whether they drive or ride. The more crowded we become the more important it is we follow the rules, othewise chaos.


It is this type of car first mentality that has held our town back for too long. Just because the roads are designed for mostly car traffic doesn't mean alternative modes of transportation aren't valid and legal. Get out of your cars and off your high horse people. Enjoy a walk, or bike ride or a skate and do it safely. Promoting alternative transportation in Grand Haven it the right thing to do. I know it is such a burden for cars to actually pay attention while driving and heed a jogger or a bike. God forbid you look around you and use a turn signal. But it is high time we allow people to travel about our town however they please and maybe save a gallon or two in the process. Go skate!


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