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Police Enforce Skateboard Ordinance

Posted at 11:28 PM, May 22, 2013

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Police are looking to enforce an ordinance already on the books involving skateboards and bicyclists.

“The problem with skateboards are, number one, it’s a safety issue. There are no brakes on skateboards,” Ralph Mason, with the Grand Rapids Police Department said.

Skateboard use is illegal in the downtown improvement district. It’s illegal for bicyclists to ride on the sidewalks; bicyclists are supposed to ride on the road.

“The skateboards cause damage to private property, to public property,” Mason said.

He said the city installed “stoppers” on the steps at Rosa Parks Circle. That’s a popular spot for skaters.

“What they like to do, I believe, the word is “grind” on the edges and what happens is, it destroys the cement. It destroys whatever it is that they are sliding on or grinding on,” Mason said.

He said businesses call the police department periodically to complain about damage to property. He hopes writing tickets for violators will serve as a deterrent.

“I’ve gotten a hundred dollar ticket before. They’re just doing their job. It’s respectable, but it’s not gonna stop a lot of kids from skateboarding downtown,” Teddy Seeley, an avid Skater said.

“I think it’s pretty pointless. Some people need a mode of transportation to point A to point B,” he added.

Seeley said skaters often head to the downtown area to skate since there is no local skate park.

He said an alternative or compromise may be to allow skaters to ride in the streets, using the bike lane.

However, that also is illegal.

“They can keep handing me tickets, and I’ll just keep skating,” Seeley said.

“I don’t mean any disrespect. I’m a skateboarder and that’s what I’ll continue to do,” he added.

Police said they’ll educate violaters first, and then they’ll start giving out tickets. The first offense is a $50 ticket, and the second offense is $100. The third offense is $200 plus court costs.

Follow Darren Cunningham on twitter @darrenfox17