Longboards Allowed on Roads and Paths
If your teenager comes up to you and says, “All I want for Christmas is a wheeled recreation device,” it means they’d like a longboard, skateboard or non-powered scooter please. Chances are they won’t say “wheeled recreation device” but that’s the legal definition when it comes to the rules of the road and they’re allowed on the footpath or along the edge of the road. So what’s a longboard, and why are they a good thing? A longboard is like a stretched-out skateboard with larger wheels set further apart. They are more stable and designed for cruisy transport while skateboards are more for stunts.
“I support any form of sustainable transport and longboarding certainly fits,” says Marlborough District Council road safety co-ordinator, Robyn Blackburn. “Young people and not-so-young people use them to get to school or work so that means fewer cars on the road and savings in fuel as well as getting some good exercise.” Queen Charlotte College students Sina Leo and Tarn Greenlaw are keen longboarders, especially as the weather warms up and the days get longer.
“I can get to school in 10 minutes, and home [downhill] in about five minutes,” says Tarn. It’s 25 minutes walking. I got a few bruises when I was learning but when I’m on my longboard now I feel so comfortable, it’s like I’m walking.”
Sina says it’s a good way to chill and get home after school. “You cruise along and clear your head and it’s good to be independent. Longboarding is more than just a form of transport – it’s a good way to keep fit because you do a lot of pushing and balancing. My friends and I go on missions around Picton, it’s a great way to get to know the place you live in. A travel plan survey at Queen Charlotte College shows 58 percent of students use a sustainable form of transport to get to school, including walking, cycling, scooter and longboard. This is the highest for a Marlborough college and staff are supportive by providing somewhere safe to store scooters and longboards during class time. Longboarding is becoming more popular and Tarn and Sina reckon there are about 20 or 30 regular riders in Picton, “including older guys”. The main hazards are stones and cars pulling out of driveways.
“”You have to be aware of your surroundings,” says Sina. “The footpath surface changes a lot and you need to keep an eye out for cars coming. A shared bike and board lane would be perfect.”
Courtesy and the usual rules of the road apply to longboarders.
“The Picton police are cool,” says Tarn. “They don’t mind us boarding because we’re not causing trouble. The worst thing that happened to me is I got pulled up by the police because it was getting dark and he suggested I go on the pavement.”
The increase in longboards, skateboards, non-powered scooters and mobility scooters means more demand on the footpath space, says Robyn Blackburn.
“All users need to be considerate of pedestrians and I’m hoping we will be able to plan to have wider footpaths and berm areas.”
ROAD RULES APPLY
• Longboards and skateboards are allowed on the footpath or on the edge of the road. Road Code rules apply.
• Boarders must be considerate and give way to pedestrians and mobility scooters if they are on the footpath.
• It’s a good idea to wear a helmet.