I am a mother of a new generation of Laguna Beach downhill skateboarders and would like to express my concerns on sharing the roads in the most safe and respectful manner for all who use them.
I received an upsetting call Nov. 10 from Officer Peck of the Laguna Beach Police Department telling me he had stopped my son and his friends as they were downhill skateboarding. He proceeded to tell me that they are not allowed to ride on the side of the street with ongoing traffic, but the law is too ride towards oncoming traffic. I see this as a “death wish” and can only hope that these kids on skateboards will soon be looked at as cyclists and go with the flow of traffic.
I could not believe an officer would be telling kids this. Just a week before there was a video on YouTube and Facebook of another officer from Laguna Beach telling some speedboarders the same thing. As I was driving up Bluebird to check on my son and his friends, Officer Peck pulled over and repeated the law about skateboarding towards oncoming traffic. So my son, being 13, spoke up saying, “No way. That’s dangerous!” Officer Peck said, “That’s what’s going to get him in trouble for mouthing off and not following the laws!” My son brought up Evren Ozan. Officer Peck said they should not hang out with Evren Ozan, the boys’ mentor and idol, because he has received more tickets in Laguna Beach than any other speedboarder!
Evren has worked with LBAG and the parents of all the speedboarders in town to teach, ride, and respect the sport of downhill skateboarding, not to mention he was the 2009 Downhill JR World Champion, and an award winning native American flute player! I believe people in our community see him as more than just a skater but a very polite, musically gifted and admired young man!
I hope we all can come to an agreement soon as this is taking the fun out of being a kid in Laguna. As of now, they are all looking over their backs for the police everywhere they skate!
Let’s not take away healthily activities that can take our children to places all over the world and give them a sense of unity.
Ginger DeLong, Laguna Beach