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Push to stop 'skate bombing' in Los Angeles

May 2, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
It's called "bombing" by skateboarders - going down a hill as fast as they can on their boards, often with little or no protection. They sometimes barely miss cars, and they sometimes crash.

The bombers have been clocked at more than 40 miles an hour. Two young skateboarders have been killed in San Pedro since November after failing to yield to traffic.

"There's no brakes on these things. They lose control, and they die or worse, end up as vegetables, brain dead," said Los Angeles City Councilman Mitchell Englander.

They're in streets with cars, and they often hook rides on vehicles to pick up speed. The Los Angeles councilman from San Pedro is the person who introduced an ordinance to regulate "skate bombing."

Councilman Joe Buscaino is an LAPD reserve officer and former police sergeant. He couldn't cite skateboarders for traffic violations. He says he doesn't want to ban skateboarders, just regulate them.

"There's nothing in the ordinance that indicates that the skateboarders need to abide by the rules of the road as we do with bicyclists," Buscaino said.

The city council voted unanimously to change that. They've ordered the city attorney to draft a new ordinance that would regulate skateboarders and make "bombing" illegal. They would have to abide by the same rules as bicyclists.

A juvenile's skateboard would be impounded, and only a parent could reclaim the skate board. The idea is to make it difficult for the youngster to hide the "bombing" from his or her parents.

When the ordinance is drafted, it comes back to city council for final approval. But because of the recent skateboard deaths and injuries, it's certain that skateboarding will soon be regulated in Los Angeles.


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