Press-Republican

Columns

April 7, 2013

Skateboarders are taking over streets

I don’t want to be the cranky old man yelling “Hey, you kids, get off my lawn!” That’s just not me.

I don’t actually care about my lawn. Walk on it all you want; as long as you pick up your dog’s mess and don’t toss cigarette butts onto it, I’ll give you a smile and a friendly wave.

The coming of spring, however, has brought out a more troublesome youthful menace, which is forcing my inner curmudgeon to the surface.

“You, skateboarders, get off my road!”

Specifically, get out of the middle of the road while I’m trying to drive on it.

I don’t have anything against skateboards in general. I had one myself as a child, back in the days when the board was a skinny plank, not a giant slab. I enjoy watching the jumps and tricks that the experts can do, and every day for the past six years I’ve re-watched Jake Brown’s epic crash in the 2007 X Games — the one where he fell 50 feet or so and his shoes exploded on impact (but he walked away with only minor injuries). Awesome.

One of my sons even has his own board — but if I ever caught him riding it in traffic, I’d break the thing into pieces.

I don’t know if the perpetrators are college kids or high-school kids — under the age of 30, they all look like kids to me now — but they show up at all hours of the day on virtually any street in the city, cruising casually down the middle of the road as if they were behind the wheel of a Toyota Camry.

Just having four wheels doesn’t make you a moving vehicle. You don’t have a bumper, a seat belt, an airbag. I’m fairly sure you don’t have collision insurance.

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