Classmates have erected a small memorial at the site of a tragic accident that took the life of 17-year-old longboarder Ryan Wallace-Tarry Monday night. Wallace-Tarry was killed while riding his longboard when when he ran right into a flat deck truck coming straight at him just south of Nanaimo, B.C.
RCMP say the teen collided with the northbound truck as he rode along the southbound lanes of Macmillan Road in front of Cedar Community Secondary School.
Classmate Lawson Wallace says Wallace-Tarry was pretty popular at school.
"His family is big in the community. He was always smiling, riding his skateboard around. He was a nice guy."
Nanaimo RCMP Constable Gary O'Brien says the street was dimly lit and Wallace-Tarry was wearing dark, non-reflective clothing when he was hit.
The 28-year-old truck driver stayed at the scene and police say speed and alcohol are not considered factors.
This is the second longboarding death on Vancouver Island this month. A 16-year-old was killed in the Comox Valley on Jan. 2. In that case, police also cited poor visibility as a contributing cause.
This past summer, three longboarders were seriously injured in two separate crashes on the same day in West Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast. In fact West Vancouver, unlike neighbouring North Vancouver city and district, has a total ban on longboarding.
Constable Jeff Palmer says enforcement can be frustrating particularly when even when parents don't get the message.
"This past weekend our traffic sergeant was doing some targeted enforcement focused on longboarders and here comes some longboarders down the road followed by a vehicle and driving the vehicle is the parent who brought them from elsewhere in the Lower Mainland to follow them down."
Palmer says since June West Vancouver police have handed out 24 tickets for longboarding. The fine is $45.
Local longboard seller Mischa Chanlder says by-laws won't stop longboarders. He says the key is the same kind of education that made cycling safer.
"You get reflectors. You make sure that you're very visible. You create a culture of safety around the acitivity."
In the tiny community of Cedar everyone is grieving the loss of their friend Ryan. The bass player in the local band, Lucy Mistreated, was supposed to graduate from high school this year.
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