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Thursday, May 3, 2012
L.A. can now ticket skateboarders

By Keith Hamm
ESPN.com

Skateboarders on the streets of Los Angeles accustomed to dealing with smog, traffic and security guards now have another force to contend with: a police department that can issue tickets for high-speed or so-called reckless skateboarding.

On Aug. 7, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved an ordinance that seeks to put an end to "bombing hills," skateboarders' intentional speed runs that sometimes involve weaving through automobile and pedestrian traffic.

The new law gives police officers the authority to ticket a skater who rides "recklessly or in such a manner or at such a speed as to cause or threaten to cause injury to himself or herself or to others.'' It also makes it illegal to ride a skateboard faster than 10 mph through an intersection or to ride while hanging on to a vehicle, and it requires skateboarders to obey all traffic signs and signals.

If skaters can find a silver lining in the new law it's that it is a watered-down version of an earlier draft that would have banned skateboarding outright from all city streets and called on officers to confiscate skateboards from offenders. That option was rejected by the Public Safety Committee, according to KPCC public radio.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has already said he would sign the new ordinance, backed by Councilman Joe Buscaino, who introduced the issue in early May, he said, in response to the recent deaths of two teenage skateboarders who died while hill-bombing.

"It's very serious when young, talented lives are lost; we have to respond," Councilman Richard Alarcon told ESPN.com at the time.

Violators could face an infraction and $250 fine per violation, according to Buscaino's office.