Mayor Explains ... Sort of ... Why Town Banned Skates
Skateboarders Were "Running Down" Residents, He Says
(By Robert "Has His Doubts" Burnson)
This is either a case of "reckless few ruin it for everyone" ... or "throwing the baby out with the bath water." ... Or both. Any way you look at it, it doesn't make much sense!
According to the mayor of Clear Springs, the town banned inline skating because of the bad behavior of a few skateboarders.
Clear Spring is a little town in west-central Maryland. The town council passed an ordinance (on July 13, 2004) banning inline skates, skateboards and scooters from its streets and sidewalks. It also banned bicycles from sidewalks, though they are still allowed on streets.
Here's what Paul Hose, who has been mayor of Clear Spring for 20 years, had to say about it. Sorry there's not more, but he didn't seem to want to talk about it much. ... Who could blame him!
Me: Could you describe Clear Spring?
The mayor: It's just a small town. Only 450 people. Just a small rural community.
Me: What brought about the ordinance to ban skating?
The mayor: The residents were complaining about kids on skateboards running them down on the sidewalk.
Me: Was there a particular incident? Was someone injured?
The mayor: No. It just kept snowballing and getting bigger. Listen, when you get four or five kids riding down the sidewalk and you are walking down the sidewalk, what does that do to you? ... You have no where to walk.
Me: How did you decide in include inline skates in your ordinance?
The mayor: We went to the other towns and found out what they had in their ordinance and we combined them into one.
Me: Under your ordinance, what happens to someone caught skating?
The mayor: The police will take them away from you.
Me: You mean confiscate your skates?
The mayor: Yes.
Me: Have you gotten much reaction to the ban?
The mayor: None.
Me: Many inline skaters think bans like yours are unfair to the vast majority of skaters who skate courteously. What do you think about that?
The mayor: Everybody's got a right to their own opinion.
Me: But not to skate in Clear Spring?
The mayor: No. Not in Clear Spring.
Me: Does the ban mean that children in your town can't skate in front of their own homes?
The mayor: Yes. ... The town of Hagerstown [about 12 miles away] has a skateboard park.
Me: So they should go there to skate?
The mayor: Yes.
(Read More about Inline Skaters and the Law)
• Inline Skating Laws
Copyright © 2006 by Robert Burnson