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Speed limit for skateboarders? Councilman aims to stop 'bombing'

May 2, 2012 |  1:03 pm

Ethan Agnew, 15, (left) and Dane Maison, 15, (right) skate down a hill in Laguna Beach. Credit: John W. Adkisson / Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to seek a speed limit for skateboarders and penalize them for failing to follow basic traffic rules.

Spurred on by Councilman Joe Buscaino, the council instructed City Atty. Carmen Trutanich to draft an ordinance that would limit skateboards to 25 miles per hour and require that they stop at stop signs and yield to vehicles and pedestrians. The measure would also prohibit “unsafe” skateboard activity.

Buscaino, the council’s newest member, sought the ordinance following the death of two skateboarders in his Harbor district over the past year. He said  he wants to put an end to downhill skateboard “bombing” -– the practice of riding at high speeds, sometimes while weaving in and out of traffic.

The ordinance must be approved by the council before going into effect. Buscaino said he wants police officers to have the power to confiscate skateboards to ensure that violators don’t conceal their traffic citations from their parents.

“We’re looking at asking the city attorney to have the officers impound the skateboards after the citation is given, so that the parents can go to the police station and recover the skateboard,” he said.

The proposal drew praise from Diana Nave, president of the Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council. She said her group receives more email on the issue of skateboard safety than on nearly any other issue.

Skateboarders “have been weaving in and out of traffic, or they have come out of nowhere because they’re moving so rapidly,” she said.


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-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall

Photo: Skateboarders could be subject to speed limits under action requested by the Los Angeles City Council. Credit: John W. Adkisson / Los Angeles Times