April 23, 2016 - 10:30 AM
VERNON - Skateboarders in Vernon are calling on the city to be a bit friendlier towards their mode of transportation.
Justin Jackson says in a blog post titled ‘The City of Vernon is discriminating against green transportation’ current bylaws are not kind to skateboarders.
In the post, he quotes the city’s traffic bylaw, which bans the use of skateboards on both sidewalks and roadways.
He says it’s ironic the city encourages people to use green modes of transportation, but restricts skateboarding.
“The current bylaw is inconsistent, unclear and discriminatory,” Jackson says.
Bryce Wach, the owner of a local skateboard shop Okanagan Skate Co., agrees the bylaws are not fair.
"The current demographic of skateboarding in Vernon ranges from starters around age six to people who are over 60 and have skated their whole lives," Wach tells iNFOnews.ca. "More and more people have taken up the sport for both recreation and transportation. It is no longer the outsider counter culture it was once perceived to be, as many citizens now longboard or skateboard to their place of work as a method of transportation."
The skateboard community is calling on the city to revise its bylaws and Vernon Mayor Akbal Mund is listening. He says the topic will be discussed at Monday’s council meeting.
“We should look at our (bylaws) and see what the rules and regulations are,” he says.
While he disagrees the bylaws are discriminatory, he says they are likely outdated.
“Like a lot of old bylaws, it was passed for the safety of citizens. It may be something we have to look at, especially now that cities are looking at green transportation,” he says. “You have to go with the times.”
That will have to be balanced with the safety of all road users, he says.
“I’m sure there are people who would fear someone going fast (on the sidewalk) and coming at them, so that could be a concern,” Mund says.
He says council will have to consider how many accidents there actually are involving collisions with skateboarders before looking at any revisions to the bylaw.
The topic will be discussed Monday, April 25 at Vernon City Hall. The meeting begins at 1:30 p.m.
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