It’s not that I dislike skateboarding, or even skateboarders for that matter. It’s just that I do not want to hurt or kill anybody. I don’t want my husband, my teenage sons, my neighbors or friends killing or hurting anybody, either. But something terrible could happen to one of those downhill skaters if something isn’t done to stop them.
Yesterday, driving up Temple Hills Drive at around 5 p.m., I had just come around the hairpin turn and was continuing up the hill. Right past Cerritos Drive, two downhill skaters came screaming around the corner. No joke, I’m sure they must have been going about 50 m.p.h. They were going so fast, that when they passed me, the wheels of their skateboards made a sickeningly weird whizzing sound as they went by.
Luckily, I was not distracted, and was driving fairly slowly, because suddenly one of the boys swerved into my lane, right in front of me! He then reached for his buddy’s hand to help pull him back to the other side of the double yellow lines. His friend could not grab hold, but somehow he veered back into his own lane. I was able to stop and wait until they got back under control, but with a car right behind me and a car following the two downhillers at a very close distance, the whole event had me pretty rattled. There are so many things that could have gone wrong. In that split second, there could have been many lives that might have been changed. Forever.
So, this brings up several questions in the case of an accident where one of these kids is hurt, or, I hate to even say it, killed. Am I, as the driver, liable, even though there is nothing that I could have done differently? Is the city liable if they vote not to place a ban on downhill skating? And, these parents who allow, and even encourage, their kids to fly down our hills, do they know how unsafe it really is? I mean they are kids, and kids don’t always have the ability to make rational decisions. Do the parents of the kids I had my encounter with yesterday know how close a call their sons just had? And, after the recent win at the last traffic and circulation meeting, are these kids feeling overly confident, even emboldened?
I truly believe that we have got to place a ban and or firm restrictions on downhill skateboarding. The combination of cars and these kids traveling on the same streets at the same time just doesn’t work. It’s not about depriving the kids of their fun; it’s about protecting, and keeping our kids safe.
Carey Strombotne, Laguna Beach