In the letter to the community this week, Rye PD warned of dangers to longboard "thrill seekers" and urged the boarders and their parents to be aware of the manage the risks associated with boarding.
Last June, Councilman Joe Sack warned about about the "skateboard problem".
Here is the Rye PD letter. What do you think? Leave a comment below.
April 16, 2012
To the Rye School Community:
As warm weather approaches, outdoor activity increases. In the coming weeks, our children will take to the streets on foot, on bicycles, on scooters, and on the latest incarnation of the skateboard – the “longboard.”
We would like to take the opportunity, as we often do, to remind the community to be observant as we make the seasonal transition into summer. Children need to be careful on whatever form of transport they choose, especially to avoid the hazard we now call “distracted walking.” Drivers need to use an even higher level of caution as pedestrian traffic increases, to obey traffic regulations, and to avoid distracted driving; that text message or telephone call can wait.
This year we appeal in particular to our community’s longboarders and their parents. Longboards are legal, but they are considered vehicles and are subject to the same basic laws as bicycles. Boarders must ride on the right side of the road, single file, with traffic. They must obey traffic control devices. Riders under fourteen years of age are required to wear helmets – and riders of any age should.
While some young people use the longboard as a means of transportation, many are thrill seekers who use the boards in more dangerous ways. While we encourage the use of the skate park at Rye Recreation, officers have seen terribly risky behavior elsewhere, such as: performing tricks on Purchase Street; clinging to vehicles; riding in the dark while wearing dark clothing; weaving across roadways; blocking streets to ride downhill, often regardless of traffic lights or traffic from cross streets; sitting in the middle of a street, back to traffic, watching friends ride; and riding downhill in a prone position, like an Olympic luger, after dark. No doubt many residents have witnessed similar activity.
The Police Department has an obligation to do whatever we can to protect our young people, as well as to address the many complaints we receive from residents when dangerous and disturbing behavior occurs. We ask for the cooperation of young boarders; please ride safely and responsibly, mindful of your safety as well as the impact of your riding on others. We also ask for parents’ cooperation; please instruct your children on the importance of safe riding and monitor their activities insofar as possible. Most importantly, in many cases the only option for police officers when dealing with boarders who endanger themselves or others is to confiscate their boards. Please understand that the officers are acting in your children’s best interests when they do so, so we ask that you support their efforts and join the officers in attempting to make a “teachable moment” out of the event when retrieving your children’s boards. We share the same goal: the safety of your children.
We cannot prevent all accidents, nor can we guarantee that children will always make wise choices. But by making them aware of the legal consequences, the potential hazards, and the responsibilities associated with their actions – and by working together to guide them in the right direction – we can maximize their safety.
Thank you in advance for your assistance. We look forward to a safe and successful Spring and Summer.
Very truly yours,
William R. Connors