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Laguna council votes to ban downhill skating

March 23, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Skateboarders navigating the streets of Laguna Beach will soon have new rules to follow after the city council approved tougher regulations and moved to ban skateboarding on eight of the city's steepest hillside streets.

Kimberly O'Brien-Young, mother of three young skateboarders, says the ban worries her.

"Only the skateboarders are banned on those eight streets. Nobody else is banned -- the cyclists, the person on their Razor, the person taking a run -- so it kind of has a little bit of a discriminatory feeling to it," said O'Brien-Young.

Beth Lance has watched near-misses involving skateboarders and vehicles. A section of her street is targeted to be off-limits to downhill skateboarding. She would like the ban to go further.

"All the way down, it shouldn't be just here and there. No skateboarding down this hill. It is too steep," said Lance.

Under the new rules, skateboarders must also obey stop signs and yield to traffic or risk being fined. Some skateboarders who say they've reached speeds of more than 60 miles per hour on some hills must now stay within the speed limit of 25 miles per hour, or less if the speed limit is lower.

The issue has created tension among some residents and skateboarders. Skateboarding is already banned on downtown Laguna Beach sidewalks.

The skateboarding ordinance is expected to be back for a second vote in April. At that time the streets that will be off-limits to skateboarders should also be finalized.