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Coquitlam aims to ban longboarding
Proposed changes to Coquitlam's street and traffic bylaw may soon be putting the brakes on longboarders and skateboarders.
On Monday, council approved first three readings of several changes to the bylaw, which included prohibiting skateboards, longboards, inline skates and scooters on all city streets and sidewalks — such uses would be limited to multi-use pathways.
Jozsef Dioszeghy, Coquitlam's general manager of engineering and public works, said the proposed changes aren't based on a slew of complaints about skateboarders but are aimed at proactively providing a "safer environment for the traveling public."
One Burke Mountain resident said he has seen a group of young teens boarding down the neighbourhood hills, with and without a spotter alerting them to vehicles approaching on Coast Meridian Road.
"It's dangerous for them and for the drivers going up and down Coast Meridian," said Danny Beaton. Earlier this week, he said, he was driving up the road when the driver in front of him slammed on his brakes to avoid hitting a group of boarders that had come down Highland Drive and across Coast Meridian without stopping.
Beaton said he sees the benefit of a bylaw for incidents where skateboarders and longboarders might be endangering themselves and others around them, "but as a person who used to skateboard, it shouldn't be used for someone peacefully using it for transportation or recreation."
Dioszeghy said it's important to look not just at the letter of the law but the intent as well, and that bylaw officers won't be issuing tickets to little kids out with their parents, for example.
"Bylaw officers have a good understanding of the intent of the bylaw, and there are various steps they can make before issuing a ticket," he said.
Coun. Craig Hodge, a Burke Mountain resident, said longboarding seems to be more of an issue in that neighbourhood, with families moving into new areas with plenty of hills.
"We've been noticing a lot more of them on the roads," he said. "They're gaining a lot of speed... but the streets on Burke Mountain are getting busier. Somebody's going to get hurt."
Hodge suggested having longboard "block parties," where one or two streets are closed off, would give kids a safer way to enjoy the sport.