In related news, skateboarding might become an Olympic sport.
The OC Register reports that city council officials passed a series of skateboarding regulations which mark that “eight sections of steep, narrow streets will be closed to skateboarders, who must also start sticking to the right side of the road and skating no faster than 25 mph.”
Now, I’ve never been to Southern California, but I did spend seven of my fondest teenage years skating everyday after-school and driving an hour and a half outside of Washington, D.C. to Vans Skatepark.
I was never good enough and hung up the board after breaking two bones in a period of 5 months (not trying to be cool, one was totally a flat-ground embarrassment). But some of my closest friends made skateboarding their life—one was even featured on 411VM.
I understand the many safety concerns that arise when you have teenagers riding around streets that are open to traffic. And I agree that these problems should be addressed, but an all out ban on skating in large chunks of a city will only further exacerbate the long vilification of skaters that’s been around since the days of Dogtown, and probably way before then.
For example, the same OC Register article notes that “last week, an unknown driver in a black Mercedes forced a skateboarding boy off the road on Skyline Drive, came to a stop, then hit another skateboarder… Neither boy suffered major injuries, but [a witness] said she worried how the community debate had escalated.”
This is the message you send out with an enforced area-ban: skateboarders are criminals. And uninformed civilians, like the driver above, may start treating young kids who skate accordingly.
I’m kind of on the fence about this. Granted, things like the X-Games brought a ton of investment and respect to skateboarding, but they also made aspects of it cheesy and commercial as hell.
I guess there’s no harm in skateboarding getting so big it might make it to the Olympic world stage — but, like an overprotective neurotic parent, I can’t help but worry to see it grow.