Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Bigger than a skateboard

cars on the sidewalkThere are bigger problems than skateboards on the sidewalks of Tarentum. Now I am not trying to get any particular drivers into trouble (which is why I did not photograph the cars showing their license plates). I understand that parking these cars on the sidewalk is in violation of an ordinance in the Borough of Tarentum. And, incidentally, they parked their cars without permission on sidewalks which the property owner (not the borough) paid to install and repair.
Rumor has it that the borough is considering banning or regulating the use of skateboards. One of the rationales for this move is the imagined risk to pedestrians. I would respectfully suggest that if cars, SUV's and trucks were not taking up half the sidewalk it would be a lot easier for pedestrians and skateboarders to coexist peacefully and to pass each other safely. 
I admit that I have had some concerns about skateboarders. I don't think that the teenagers who skate without protective gear realize all the possible risks to themselves. There genuinely is a need in the community to help these young people know how to enjoy their outdoor activities safely.
Rather than simply resorting to regulation, is it possible for youth and community leaders to sit down together and have some safety education? Is it truly out of the realm of possibility that the skateboarding community could set some standards for itself to ensure the safe use of the sidewalks?
And by the way, I'm not asking the Tarentum Borough police department to start ticketing the drivers involved above.  A better solution all around would be for young and old, pedestrians, skateboarders, and drivers to talk with each other about how to make our borough a better place.

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