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Ban proposed on Laguna Beach speedboarding

July 26, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
For Ben Hryn and Dane Maison, nothing compares to the exhilaration of downhill skateboarding in Laguna Beach."The G-forces that are holding you around corners and the wind past your hair is like nothing I've ever felt before," Hryn said.

Hryn said he has reached speeds of up to 60 miles per hour. He has the scrapes to show past falls. So far, no broken bones.

"It's really scary, but at the same time when you're just focusing on it, you're not really worried about falling, you're just worried about getting down," Maison said.

Some neighbors aren't as excited.

"I don't recall signing up to have a race track for an extreme sport in our neighborhood," said Laguna Beach resident Alan Bernstein.

Bernstein submitted a proposal to a city committee asking for a law to ban skateboarding on most hills. He's also asking for a speed limit of 10 miles per hour to be put in place.

Although skateboarding is already banned in downtown Laguna Beach sidewalks, Bernstein said he has had close calls with skateboarders and dozens of his neighbors have told similar stories.

Police said that in the last two and a half years there have been seven accidents involving skateboarders and vehicles. Four of those skateboarders suffered injuries.

Bernstein said sometimes more than 100 skateboarders hit the streets each week. Skateboarders said it's more like dozens.

Hryn insists that safety comes first.

"We encourage helmet use," he said.

The proposal to restrict "downhilling," as it's called, has drawn more than 1,000 signatures from those in support of skateboarders.

The committee will discuss the issue at a meeting on Sept. 23.


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