Skateboarding is not a crime

Lee Eisler

You’re skating your favorite hill when “Johnny Law” rolls up on you. It turns out someone called reporting skateboarders on “their” hill. After a lecture explaining the laws (which vary from city to city) you are issued a ticket for being a pedestrian in the roadway.

“Here’s your lift ticket,” says the police officer. Your day which was going good so far just got expensive. All the fun you were having is drowned and a damper is thrown on your day.

This ticket was issued on a road with no sidewalks, no bike lane and cyclists riding up and down the road. No one is worried about the cyclists. They are free to roam and do their thing while you are treated like a criminal. Skateboarders are unfairly singled out although a skateboard can be used for transportation as well as recreation.

Skateboarding has been around since the 1950’s. As the sport began to increase in popularity, its sub culture grew and law enforcement looked at these kids as punks and criminals.

Police officers, security guards and concerned citizens are constantly harassing skaters. A fun run down a hill shouldn’t turn into a lecture about the danger of the sport and how many people are killed participating in it nor should it become an issue about who owns the street. The amount of cyclists killed every year is far greater than the number of skateboarders.

A stereotype about skaters is that they run around spray-painting everything and destroying stuff, breaking into places and stealing. Sure there are criminals and punks who skateboard, but this doesn’t mean that all skateboarders fall under this category.

It is a sport that requires a great deal of balance and athleticism. Most people will have a hard time standing on the board let alone riding it down hills and flipping it in controlled spins through the air.

Southern California has a thriving multimillion dollar action sports industry, yet people still want skateboarding banned in their cities. They want the streets to themselves for the few times they drive up and down each day.

We view the world differently than most people. Each city is its own playground.

Every skateboarder shares one thing in common. We have all felt the pure thrill and joy of riding around town with nothing but a piece of wood and wheels between you and the road. It is one of the best feelings in the world. The adrenaline is flowing, you can feel the wind whipping against you as your shirt flaps behind you and at that moment nothing else matters.

Skateboarding in certain areas is like being in a war zone. It is you versus everyone else. No skateboarding signs litter city streets. “You are not allowed to have fun here,” is how I read the signs. You must be ready for any situation, even the occasional pissed off parent.

The sport is rapidly growing and acceptance for it is slowly increasing. Skate parks are being built so people have designated places to go. Skateboarders are still looked at as punk kids, when in reality it is just your normal everyday person trying to enjoy their lives and the sport they choose to participate in.

What is better than a sport with no rules, where you are free to do what you want all while having fun doing it?

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