In a 5-1 vote, Asheville, North Carolina, just approved a new ordinance to be drafted allowing skateboarders to legally share the road with bikes and cars.
The proposal states that traffic laws would apply to skateboarders, helmets are required and skating is only allowed during the hours of sunlight.
Now, I’m from Grand Rapids, Michigan. It’s a very industrialized city, but the main downtown area probably only has a radius of about a mile or two.
Within this radius, it is illegal to skateboard.
Meet Ashley. Young, college, skater-girl in her twenties, works as a server at TGIFridays downtown. As most know, it’s not smart for a young attractive girl to be walking in a downtown city, alone, late at night. Being a college girl, Ashley didn’t have a car to use, skateboarding was her main source of transportation and granted it’s not that much safer than walking, but you at least have speed on your side if someone tries to attack you. Ashley would go to work at 5PM, get out at 2AM and skateboard home unaware of the city ordinance. One of these nights, Ashley was skateboarding home when she rolled past a traffic cop on foot. She had only gotten a few feet past the cop before she felt the cold clamp of the cuffs getting snapped on her wrists while she was being dragged off her skateboard. Apparently, the cop yelled at her to stop, she didn’t hear him, and he took that as resistance. So, in her attempts to travel safer to and fro, Ashley was ironically attacked by the last thing she would’ve expected; the law.
More cities need to update their antique ordinances and recognize that skateboarding is not just for recreation. I’ll be the first to admit, the skateboarding stereotype will be hard to break in attempts to convince cities to change. I deal with stupid little skateboarder punks that try to steal from my shop on a weekly basis, but I think it’s the destruction trick skateboarding leaves behind and the safety issues that really hold people back. So, you need to educate them, they don’t know that there are different types of skateboarding, they just assume everyone has bad behavior. Contact your city today to start a petition allowing the transportation use of skateboards on the road.