NEWS

Victoria skateboarding ban lifted

03/27/2015 01:15 EDT | Updated 05/26/2015 05:59 EDT
City Council in Victoria agreed on Thursday to lift a decades-old ban on skateboarding in the city's downtown core.

"This is so awesome," said local skateboarder Jake Warren. "We're going to be allowed to use the boards in a responsible manner and access the city like we should."

The change has yet to take effect — city staff will write up the bylaw amendment, which should be presented to council for final approval by mid-May.

Under the new bylaw, skateboarders will be required to follow the same rules of the road as cyclists. However, they won't be any required to wear helmets or to have lights at night.

Skateboarding will still not be permitted on downtown sidewalks.

The change was put in motion last year when council asked city staff to gauge public support for lifting the restrictions.

The city conducted a survey, and most of the responses — the majority from middle-aged non-skateboarders — were favourable toward ending the ban in order to support an alternative method of travel.

At the council meeting, some safety concerns were expressed, such as potential conflicts with cyclists or pedestrians, but the motion passed unanimously.

Skateboarding was banned from Victoria's downtown core in 1991 when it was seen as an exploding social problem.

"That was before we had a skate park, so people were doing tricks downtown because they had nowhere else to go," said city councillor Jeremy Loveday, who was a skateboarder at the time of the ban.

The change only applies to downtown streets. Skateboarding has always been permitted on streets outside the downtown core.

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