British Columbia·Video

Should longboarding be banned on public streets?

A number of B.C. communities are struggling to find the right balance when dealing with longboarders who ride in the streets.

Longboard ban proposed

The National

8 years ago
Residents in a Vancouver neighbourhod are calling for a ban on longboarding - a passtime for some, a form of transportation for others 2:29

As the sport of longboarding grows in popularity, a number of B.C. communities are struggling with how to rein in the speeding boarders.

Longboarding is already banned in West Vancouver and on some streets in North Vancouver, but some say nothing short of full prohibition will do.

North Vancouver resident Chuck Duffy hit a longbboarder in his truck in North Vancouver in February 2012. Nobody was seriously injured, but the incident spurred Duffy to start a petition for a ban last year.

"The whole trauma of having a young boy come across the hood of your vehicle, that you've hit with your vehicle, is just not something anyone should have to deal with," he told CBC News.

Recent accidents involve teens

In the last month there have been five major accidents involving longboarders in the region, including an accident in Maple Ridge in which a 12-year-old boy who hit a car suffered serious head injuries.

While skateboards are great for tricks, bigger longboards are built for speed. Experts on the North Shore say some of the hills let them hit up to 90 km/h.

Aidan Lynds may not travel quite that fast, but he longboards in North Vancouver, and says he takes precautions when using certain roads. On his favourite hill, he has a friend wait at the bottom of the run, watching out for cars.

"A lot of the kids that are doing it aren't drivers, right? They don't understand the rules of the road. They don't understand you actually have to stop at a stop sign," he said. 

"And they don't realize that death is final. I mean, you come around the corner and you hit that car, you're dead. It's over."

Richard Walton, Mayor of the District of North Vancouver, says that an outright prohibition could be counterproductive. A lot of local teens use longboards to get to and from school, he says.

"They were simply boarding home with their school books on their back, and it's a means of getting around. And we're trying to push kids to walk and be green ... and a lot of kids are saying 'That's what I'm doing, why would you make it illegal?' " Walton said.

Lynds believes more safety and education programs can improve the situation on the North Shore.

"We want to work with the city, right, we want to work with the bylaw [people] and with the police. And, say, we get a closed hill for two hours on a Sunday every week.  Every boarder could come out, we could hold safety jams," he suggested.

With files from the CBC's Chris Brown