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Skateboarding limits affirmed

Council adopts resolution that declares the streets on which skateboarding and roller skating are prohibited.

April 07, 2011|By Barbara Diamond, coastlinepilot@latimes.com

Editor's note: This corrects the incident Kimberly O'Brien Young was referring to.

Skateboard aficionados were spinning their wheels Tuesday in their attempt to convince a City Council majority to retract a ban on some of the city's steepest hills.

The council voted 3 to 2 to adopt a resolution designating streets on which skateboarding and roller skating will be prohibited. Council members Kelly Boyd and Verna Rollinger dissented.

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"Verna, I didn't vote for you, but you stood for us," said Peter French. "Verna was right. We don't want to trade liberty for safety."

Rollinger had voted against a skateboarding ban on Alta Vista Way; Summit, Bluebird Canyon, Morningside, Crestview and Temple Hills drives; Diamond Street and the Third Street Hill when it was first proposed. She asked separate votes be taken Tuesday on the ban and an ordinance stipulating other restrictions, which was approved unanimously.

Boyd is trying to find an off-street location for speedboarding and/or set times and dates when the hillside streets could be closed to vehicles to allow events to take place.

"We are not prohibiting skateboarding in Laguna Beach, we are just prohibiting it on dangerous streets," Councilwoman Elizabeth Pearson said.

Downhill speeds of up-to-60 mph have been reported, but were not always accurate, one youthful skateboarder said.

Chance Gaul, 14, said his comments about speed were taken out of context in a story in the New York Times. Gaul said he told the writer that he had gone 60 mph in races, not on Laguna Beach streets.

"My concern is these kids have been vilified," said Kimberly O'Brien-Young.

She is also concerned about an incident two boys reported happened March 28.

O'Brien-Young said that a driver had aimed a Mercedes at two skateboarders and hit one who jumped in front of the car, trying stop it.

The two boys said a black Mercedes Benz with a dark tint pulled out of Bounty Way and proceeded onto Skyline Drive.

But it wasn't just the hillside ban that upset skateboard supporters.

"I read the prohibitions in the ordinance," said John Shad. "This will criminalize our children. It's tough enough being a kid today. Have a heart."

The new regulations and information about skateboarding in town are contained in a brochure that will be available at the Police Department and from patrol officers. A draft of the brochure prepared by Police Chief Paul Workman is on http://www.lagunabeachcity.net.

Among the provisions:

•Obey all traffic laws.

Stop at all stop signs.

Slow to less than 10 mph when riding through a blind intersection.

Never skateboard at more than 25 mph.

Stay to the right of the center line of a street or the center of the street if there is no line.

Pull as close as possible to the right side of the roadway when a vehicle approaches from the rear.

Do not pull skateboarders with a vehicle.

Do not hang onto a vehicle or attach yourself to a vehicle in any way.

Other rules include a prohibition on skateboarding stunts on public streets, sidewalks or property, placement of cones, trash cans or other objects in a roadway to create a course.

Skateboarders are required to stand on their boards: no laying down, kneeling or sitting.

For more information, contact the Police Department at http://www.pdinfo@lagunabeachcity.net or by calling (949) 497-0701, ext. 1.

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