Leave the skaters alone

It’s ironic that Vermont is such a green state, that we preach energy efficiency and yet a Castleton town ordinance blocks skateboarders and other wheeled devices from being used on local roads.

With a population of skateboarders, long boarders and people on roller blades shredding down the roads to make a fast commute, it’s rather silly that their presence has become such a big deal to warrant ticketing.

Skateboarding has been around since our parents’ days. It’s become a social norm and we know all skateboarders aren’t just mad-hatters looking to pick a fight or mess with people. They’re just getting from A to B, doing it with style, and we’ve become used to that.

So why is it an issue now all of a sudden? Why is the law enforcement cracking down on skateboarders so suddenly? Chances are police officers have let countless skaters over the years ride by on South Street unhindered, but now they’re pulling them over to teach them a lesson. It’s rather hypocritical to start enforcing a public ordinance that for more than eight years was essentially ignored.

Roads and sidewalks were created for the use of motorists and cyclists, respectively. Skateboarding grew around the fringes and the folds of social norms. It tested the waters. To condemn skateboarding on the roads, as it is in Castleton, shouldn’t it also be condemnable that they shouldn’t be used on sidewalks because sidewalks are specifically designed for people walking?

If that’s the case, then why are bikes allowed on roads and streets? Aren’t they more of a hazard on sidewalks than on the roads because they have the ability to travel at high speeds, but it’s OK that they can be on both sidewalks and roads?

Skaters are clearly not criminals. They’re athletes and have a gift that deserves to be used and not subjected to a flagrant rise in punishment due to an archaic law that remained unenforced and apparently ignored for so many years.

That said, skaters need to be respectful too. They need to ride on the sides, not in the middle. They need to observe the rules of the road that cyclists and automobile drivers observe. And if they do, they should be left alone.

Skaters deserve to use the roads for commute and travel. Their existence should be taken with the respect on the road, just as bicyclists and joggers. Plus, enforcing a local ordinance to rid the town of boarders is a glaring waste of time and energy on the part of the officers who patrol Castleton. Isn’t it?


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