Mailbag: Speedboarders are a hazard

March 03, 2011

My wife and I were on our way to see the doctor, when speedboarders were on our hill at Crestview Drive again. They usually visit our hill, between a dozen or so, their groups getting more and more numerous in recent weeks. Yesterday we witnessed another accident between a speedboarder and a sidewalk.

I'm a former skateboarder, having skated with Steve Caballero in the 1980s in Eagle Rock. I'm in my 40s and my wife is in her 30s. In my opinion, speedboarding on narrow Laguna Beach streets is inherently dangerous. We're not skating on a ramp, a closed course, or a park.

The idea is to intentionally mix with traffic for the thrill of it. This is simply too dangerous for the kids and brings about much liability for an unsuspecting vehicular driver.


While speedboarders and their parents would advocate how wonderful, safe and friendly they are (as they have often left mail on our front door and mailbox), not so. We've often encountered their rudeness and lack of consideration to our surprise, let alone disruption of traffic, and have often advised the Police Department when too many of them simply block our narrow street.

Their demeanor isn't the issue — safety is. We drive at 5 miles an hour on the hill (as opposed to the posted 20 mph), not because of oncoming traffic, but because of the constant concern and danger of speedboarders who cannot control their speed, turns and simply don't know how to brake. Far beyond inconvenience, boarders have become a dangerous nuisance to residents.

Consider the accident that took place recently — no different than the usual accidents that speedboarders experience here, often unreported.

"Elijah" was speedboarding on the hill, with a "newer board," when he "took the outside line" (as reported by five of his closest friends who stuck around after the accident), resulting in Elijah breaking his leg/ankle against the curb.

The end result? My wife and I missed a doctor's appointment on Saturday, as the street was closed for more than an hour with traffic unable to move. The use of an ambulance, at least two fire engines and several police resources resulted because skaters (and often their parents) show poor judgment in where they choose to skate.

We now have boarders coming from as far as Los Angeles and San Diego counties as well as the Inland Empire to visit our hills and create exposure to drivers. Is this really what we want as residents looking for tranquility and comfort?

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