Police Struggle with longboarders on Mt. Gravett
Teenagers are risking their lives skating down Mt Gravatt Mountain on longboards but police say it’s difficult to stop them. A boy looks at the camera, pulls down his helmet visor and starts skating down Mt Gravatt mountain, passing two cars travelling in the opposite direction. This is the video, uploaded to YouTube, that shows what has become a popular pastime for thrill-seeking teenagers part of the longboard skate scene.
A longboard is a longer variant of a skateboard which is commonly used for cruising, downhill racing, slalom racing and sliding. Holland Park Senior Sergeant Craig Smith said police were aware of the problem and would continue to patrol the area.
“It’s difficult to catch them in the act for the mere fact that they’re down the road in five minutes,” he said. “If we had a complaint it would be hard to get there in time.”
Once the domain of hard-core skaters, longboarding has seen a huge spike in popularity recently with enthusiasts frequently turning to shopping centre car parks and suburban roads to pursue the sport. Haggy Strom of Australian Skate Board Racing Association said part of the problem was the strict laws governing skate boarding.
“It’s an ongoing struggle to find places that are legal,” he said.
According to national road rules provided by the Australian Transport Council it is illegal to skate down roads where the speed limit is equal or greater than 50km/h and where there is a dividing line or medium strip.
Mr Strom said the sport was inherently risky but banning it was not the answer.
“It won’t stop people from doing it,” he said.
“From our point of view the best thing we can do is try and make it as safe as possible by having regular road closures and setting up a facility specifically for longboard riding.”