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Longboarders Butt Heads with the Law in Canadian Cities

Submitted by admin on August 5, 2010 – 9:14 PM

Longboarding is inherently exciting and some would postulate dangerous.  Without any saftey gear one fall could end your passion.  Are they reckless thrill-seekers or just misunderstood?  The death of another longboarder this past weekend has reignited the debate over whether longboard enthusiasts should be allowed to ride on Canadian streets.

The fringe sport — a cross between surfing and snowboarding on wheels — has exploded in popularity, but many municipalities forbid it.  That’s prompted a handful of petitions across the country to try to convince local officials to let longboarders share the road with motorists and cyclists. Supporters say the vast majority of  longboarders are not a nuisance to pedestrians, adhere to the rules of the road, and are helping the environment by staying out of their cars. ”We should basically be treated the same as cyclists,” said Tom Edstrand, co-owner of Landyachtz Longboards in Vancouver. “The answer is not to ban it. It is better to work with longboarders to reach a reasonable solution.”

Public safety officials take a different view. “The purpose of it is the excitement and thrill of going fast and making sharp turns,” said RCMP Cpl. Peter DeVries, who works in North Vancouver, a district popular with longboarders because of its hilly roads. “It’s a credible Concrete Wave Magazinesport, certainly. But without a safe venue, they resort to public roads and that’s a huge risk. It’s just not safe to do on surface streets where there are cars.”  On Saturday night, a 29-year-old longboarder was killed in a residential neighbourhood in Abbotsford, B.C., after colliding with an SUV in an intersection.  Police said evidence of alcohol was found in the vehicle. But witnesses also told police the longboarder, who was wearing a helmet, may not have stopped at the stop sign. 

Another longboarder, Glenna Evans, 27, was killed in July after missing a turn while longboarding at the bottom of Mount Seymour, also in B.C. Longboard enthusiasts say that, as with cycling, their sport is bound to involve accidents. The key, they say, is to know your limits and to stay within those limits.  Mike Nemeth, who helped to gather more than 1,200 signatures on a petition to legalize longboarding in Saskatoon, says longboarders who race are in the minority. Most longboarders, he said, ride to “get from point a to point b. They’re being environmentally conscious.”  While longboards can move faster than skateboards, they’re longer and wider and their wheels are fatter and softer to provide for a more stable ride and better control, enthusiasts say.  Petitions to legalize longboarding on public streets reportedly have also been launched in Peterborough, Ont., and Fredericton, N.B.  Jamie Hahn, owner of Benmore Longboards in Ottawa, said the sport is only going to get more popular and lawmakers should try to find ways to compromise with longboarders rather than drive them underground. Rather than shun downhill racers, municipalities could, for instance, accommodate them by blocking off designated streets for certain periods of time to allow them to practice their craft, he said.  ”It’s just like any other sport,” Hahn said. “There’s a lot of ignorance out there. People are making a lot stupid assumptions.”  Some bloggers have suggested that longboarding should become an Olympic sport.  The Province Link

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  • admin says:

    As I read these comments Im amazed at how stupid people can be. Dribbling a soccer ball in a bike lane? soccer is not a mode of transportation get your head out of you @ss. @mauritania: Drive a truck with no brakes? a truck will weigh upwards of 5000lbs, a heck of a lot more then a 15lb board and a 100-200lb rider, AND we do have brakes, its called the sole of our shoe “not a mode of transportation unless it has brakes” haha isnt that a load of sh!t. If its used to get from point a to point b then its a mode of transportation. roller blades, scooters, bmx bikes, fixed gear bikes and so on usually don’t have brakes BUT the all seem to stop just fine, usually using a foot breaking technique not unlike longboarders. RIP to the riders who lost there lives. To everyone else be careful out there, use spotters, ride within your limits, stay out of traffic at the busiest times, wear protection, gloves and a helmet as a bare minimum, elbow and knee pads are a good idea too.

  • admin says:

    Wouldn’t it be great if we had places to practice our passions? Large groups of people like to drive… Fast! Large groups of people like to ride… Fast! Lots of people like living… People need the choice! People need to take risks. People need freedom! There are too many regulations, I’m exhausted.

    Don’t we want our children to have the opportunity to pursue any passion of their choice? But of course… Safely! Sooo, make it available!!

  • admin says:

    I think it should be legal!…..It’s a perfect example of darwinism. Once this ”sport”clears a few out of the gene pool then we can put in some bike lanes on the freeway, maybe a bumperhitching lane. Maybe we should alow shopping carts on the freeway as well.

    I wonder if ICBC will insure these people?????

  • admin says:

    So at the next Vancouver Council meeting, Mayor McCheese and his band of McMuppets can begin the process of installing longboard lanes, then we can have pedestrian only lanes, followed by people with chicken lanes.

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