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SNAG’s Demands are Unreasonable

Editor,

People on downhill skateboards travel as fast as bicycles and should be regulated as cyclists are regulated, says the Parking, Traffic and Circulation (PTC) Committee after study and public hearings.  The chief of police added a suggestion of a ban on the three steepest streets. According to process, these proposals were then presented to the City Council for an ordinance approval.

The majority of the City Council rejected the proposals and instead suggests a ban on all sloped streets, which is most of Laguna Beach.  This is in alignment with the residents who have coined themselves SNAG, Skateboarders Neighborhood Action Group.  SNAG did not feel the PTC committee and sub-committee (12 people, staff and volunteer) completed this proposal to their liking. They want people on skateboards off the majority of the streets.

SNAG has increased the number of calls to the police department about people on skateboards in the street, is distributing mass letters rallying for an email blast to the City Clerk and is posting political-type signs on the hills. SNAG allegedly claims they will not stop this pursuit until they get what they want. They report hundreds of people on downhill skateboards on the streets. Hundreds? I pass a few now and then. The only thing I ever see hundreds of people doing on the streets are the cyclist clubs and I see them often! I wait for them. I slow down for them. I’m annoyed by them.  But I recognize that they have a right to the road. I don’t own it.

People on downhill skateboards travel in groups of three or four and they make a few runs down the hills. Saturdays and Sundays and summer days are probably busier.  Sometimes they are a bit noisy because they are young, they are outside and they are having fun. They yell, “All’s clear!” or “Not yet!” or “On your left!” But let’s face it, it’s not like we have chairlifts taking people to the top of Park Avenue and Bluebird.

If City Council adopts this ban SNAG is demanding, the police department is going to be expected to handle daily phone calls from the same three or four dozen people, demanding they chase after kids, teens and young adults who are on downhill skateboards.  Sort of like cops and robbers. Except for the robbers part, because actually they’re the kids in the high school band, on the honor roll, in Junior Lifeguards, they’re advanced musicians, one just left for the Army Academy, they are sponsored athletes, businessmen and teachers. One of them is a surgeon! Oddly, we’ll trust him with our life with a scalpel in his hand but we don’t trust him with his own life on a downhill skateboard. Really?

What’s going on in Laguna Beach?  Laguna needs defined safety rules for people on downhill skateboards. That’s for sure. We all agree with that.  But do we really need all of this?

Vicki High, Laguna Beach

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  1. Jay Strotkamp

    There is a real danger of physical harm on a skateboard coming straight down a street reaching high speeds. I did it many years ago, hit a very small rock & went off my skateboard cutting my hip to the bone. But I was lucky because had I hit a car, street sign pole, telephone pole etc. I probably would have suffered a serious injury.

    And I remember when I was young I (And most of my friends) thought we were invincible.

    Because of the danger I and the Council understand residents not wanting their streets turned into skateboard ramps where youngsters can be hurt.

  2. Nolan Uchizono

    Jay,

    I completely agree. But why stop at outlawing Skateboarding? We should outlaw riding bikes as well. I once fell on my bike as a child and cut my knee so badly I STILL have a scar! Bikes are dangerous. You know what else is dangerous? Running. I used to run Track in high school. A girl on our team fell while doing 100 meter dashes, and she twisted her ankle. Oh the horror!

    Someone needs to take the initiative and write to the city council demanding that we deem any and all physical activities that take place on the streets of Laguna Beach a ticket-able offense. These activities should not be limited to walking, running, biking, skateboarding, sitting, or (god forbid) standing.

    Its a good thing we live in America – a society where we have the freedom to tell other people what to do with their lives.

  3. Nolan Uchizono

    My god, I almost forgot about surfing!

    Have you seen what these youngsters are doing these days! They’re actually getting on large plastic “boards” and riding atop the waves at the beach!

    Oh how dangerous! We must make this illegal immediately! They could drown! They could fall and hit their head on a rock! Oh that would be just terrible wouldn’t it?

    My oh my can’t these kids just take up a normal hobby indoors? Like playing bridge, or reading a book. Maybe they could pick up heroin. Thats the entire point of SNAG right? We’re trying to push our kids to do drugs and waste their lives indoors, rather than be active and enjoy life?

  4. Vicki High

    Thank you, Nolan. It’s ridiculous to ban this when all we need are reasonable safety rules for these athletes.

  5. Jim Gray

    It is still amazing to see the ignorance when it comes to skateboarding. We fought it in Costa Mesa while trying to get our skatepark built. Now in it’s 7th year I think the Volcom skatepark of Costa Mesa is certainly the most used facility in the city, and has never had a neighborhood complaint that I am aware of. Work with user groups and stop trying to kill what you don’t understand. Life is dangerous, deal with it.

    I don’t see anyone trying to ban clueless tourists who get in everyone’s way.. Oh wait, they spend money, so maybe the skaters need to stop and shop and then everyone will look the other way. I’d say grow up, but it seems that is the problem…..someone forgot how fun it is to be young…

  6. Chad Gibbs

    What makes Pearson and Iseman smarter than the PTC? The PTC are proven traffic experts specializing in Laguna Beach. They crunched the numbers and came up with regulations that fit the bill for this issue. They are not going to keep all skateboarders safe, just like all the traffic lights, stop signs, lighted crosswalks etc., do not keep every pedestrian safe.
    I personally was at a closed meeting with Councilman Boyd, VERY bright members of the PTC and SNAG members. PTC members and Mr. Boyd vehemently expressed to SNAG that their war against skateboarders was wasted energy. They recommended that SNAG put their money and efforts towards fighting drunk drivers and child molesters if they wanted to do something good for the community. SNAG refused to listen… Choose “Board over Bored”!!!

  7. Vicki High

    I have a friend in Bullhead City who said the city has a park that includes a skateboard area. It has a baseball field, basketball courts and tennis courts as well. The skateboard area gets the most traffic by far. At night they light everything except the skateboard area and the park empties out. He wonders where all of those teenagers go (mostly boys) when those lights go off?! A few minutes ago they were busy skating!

  8. justin

    @ jay speed boards wheels are much larger making a ride much smoother we dotn encounter that problem i propose satey rules not a ban. i wear my helmet when i go bombong and all speedboarders should becuase saftey first and to ride on the right side. its safer for the speedboarders and the drivers. if we follow these rules speedboarders and council members should be happy

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