Skateboarding regulations and potential bans created division and tension amongst over 150 Laguna Beach residents in a City Council meeting this week. Alan Bernstein, forerunner of the push for regulation, suggested following the precedent set by the city’s ban of surfing on over 75% of beaches in Laguna Beach. Residents in favor of the regulations cited safety, of both skateboarders and drivers, as the primary reason for reform. Opponents of the ban demanded equal street rights for skateboarders as bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorists; but Mayor Toni Iseman argued “Our streets are really not for recreation. If you’re riding a bicycle, you’re going some place. If you’re riding a speed board, you’re using that for only the purpose of speed and acceleration.”
Regulations include stopping at stop signs, 10 mph speed limit for skating in uncontrolled intersections, maintaining a five foot distance from pedestrians as well as completely banning any objects put in the street for the purpose of skating.
Parent Kimberly O’Brien Young, criticized the negative connotation associated with skateboarders saying, “They are talented athletes who deserve a chance to be passionate about what they do.”
Another parent, Chad Gibbs, doubted the extent of disruption to residents saying, “I have to ask how many of these calls come from the same half dozen people, a few people have made a lot of noise. What they’ve done with their signs and letters, they’ve criminalized these kids.”
The Boys and Girls Club in Laguna Beach is opening up a small skate park, but many argue that caters to a different aspect of skateboarding than that of downhill skating. Councilman Kelly Boyd vows to search for compromise between both sides and suggested opening up access to skateboarders on other hills in the are that would be separated from cars.