L.A. City Council bans skateboard 'bombing' down hills
(CNS) – In an effort to stop skateboarders from “bombing” down steep hills at death-defying speeds, the Los Angeles City Council today unanimously approved an ordinance that gives police more leeway in ticketing reckless riders.
The ordinance was backed by Councilman Joe Buscaino, who represents a hilly part of San Pedro where two young men died in skateboarding accidents within the last year.
“Many times they reach speeds as high as 40 miles an hour. Oftentimes, they don’t wear helmets or protective gear as they weave in and out of traffic, skateboarding in a reckless manner,” Buscaino said.
The ordinance, which the mayor said he would sign, will require skateboarders to stand while riding on public roads, sidewalks, parking lots or other public property.
“Using, pushing, propelling or riding on a skateboard in a sitting, prone, kneeling or lying position is prohibited,” the ordinance states.
To slow skateboarders down, the ordinance makes it illegal to ride a skateboard faster than 10 mph through an intersection or to ride while hanging on to a vehicle. Drivers who knowingly tow a skateboarder with a vehicle can be ticketed.
The ordinance includes language prohibiting skateboarders from riding “recklessly or in such a manner or at such a speed as to cause or threaten to cause injury to himself or herself or to others.”
A 14-year-old skateboarder, Michael Borojevich, died last November, 11 days after being injured near Western Avenue and 25th Street. In January, Caleb Daniel Simpson, 15, died from injuries suffered in a high-speed crash near Averil Park and Weymouth Avenue.
Los Angeles police assigned to the Harbor Station told the council they get calls daily from people concerned about “bombing.”
“The practice is getting to where it’s out of control,” said Officer Eve White, the acting senior lead officer in San Pedro.
Buscaino countered criticism that the ordinance is overly broad. “I’m not here to ban skateboarding,” he said. “The last thing I want to do is bury another kid from reckless skateboarding.”
Councilman Tony Cardenas raised concerns the ordinance would be used only in San Pedro. He asked for police statistics on citations once the law has been in effect for a while. Cardenas said the city should build more skate parks to give skateboarders a safe place to ride. “When we build one skate park, we’re not done,” Cardenas said. “We have a lot more to do and a lot more to build.”
Councilman Ed Reyes called for the city to post signs warning about the restrictions on streets that are notorious skateboarding bombing locations.
Councilman Bernard Parks, who represents a relatively flat area of the city, said he had more problems with people towing skateboarders on bicycles. He asked the City Attorney’s Office to look into barring that practice, as well.