No Boarder Helmet Bylaw Politicians say up to Province!
HELMET PUSH DOFFED. Bare Beaunz owners Andrew Tomasone and Beau Neumeyer are disappointed the town wouldn’t agree to pass a bylaw requiring boarders and longboarders to wear helmets.“Everyone waits until something happens … Someone died in Toronto while longboarding last week and he wasn’t wearing a helmet. “He might still be alive if he was wearing a helmet..”
Fearing potential liabilities, it looks as though the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury has passed on pursuing a bylaw requiring skateboarders and longboarders to don helmets before hitting the road. At last week’s committee of the whole meeting, members of council briefly discussed a report on the feasibility of a bylaw requiring skateboarders and longboarders to wear helmets. In the document, submitted by strategic planning co-ordinator Michelle Brandt, it was noted that while some municipalities, such as Vancouver, regulate or prohibit skateboards and longboards as part of their traffic bylaws, only St. John’s NL has a municipal helmet bylaw on the books and that only applies to bicycles.
Aside from being unfamiliar territory for a municipality to tread, Ms Brandt also noted the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in the case of Kamloops v. Nielson where it was found that any time a municipality passes a bylaw to regulate a certain activity or area, the municipality must take reasonable care in administering and enforcing said bylaw. Should an individual injure themselves or otherwise suffer a loss due to the municipality’s inability to enforce its bylaw, the municipality could be held liable.
As such, Ms Brandt noted that the matter might be better dealt with at the provincial level instead. Mayor Doug White made it clear that he absolutely supported the efforts of Bare Beaunz Skateboard Shop owners, Beau Neumeyer and Andrew Tomasone, in bringing the issue to council’s attention and spreading their safety message to the local longboard community, but he also stressed that he couldn’t open the town to potential liabilities.
“‘Potential liabilities.’ That’s all I needed to read,” he said. “The intentions of the folks at Bare Beaunz is noble and I applaud (their efforts).”
For his part, Mr. Tomasone said he’s disappointed that a helmet bylaw doesn’t appear to be forthcoming. Both he and Mr. Neumeyer have made it known that they want to see some sort of helmet bylaw in place before there’s a tragedy in Bradford.
“Everyone waits until something happens,” he said. “Someone died in Toronto while longboarding last week and he wasn’t wearing a helmet. “He might still be alive if he was wearing a helmet.” At the same time, Mr. Tomasone said he could understand the town’s concern with respect to potential liabilities. Given that, petitioning the province to pass a helmet law for skateboarders and longboarders would be the next logical step, he said.
“Everything happens for a reason,” Mr. Tomasone said. “If we can’t do it at the town level, maybe we can do it provincially and get something in place for all over (Ontario).”