Skater Haters? City Council Votes To Let Cops Take Boards Away

The Laguna Beach City Council on Tuesday gave police the right to confiscate skateboards from both adults and kids who are caught riding without a helmet. The law takes effect in December.

The Laguna Beach City Council on Tuesday gave police officers the authority to confiscate the skateboards of anyone caught riding around town without a helmet.


And anyone means anyone—not merely those under age 18. People younger than 18, though, will need to be accompanied to the police station by a parent when the confiscation period ends, if they ever want to see their board again.

Skateboards will be kept at the station for one week after a first violation, and for 30 days every violation afterward. A $25 fine will also be imposed.

The new ordinance will become official on or about Dec. 13, or 30 days after the law has a second reading at the council’s Nov. 13 meeting. Next June, the council will receive a progress report on the law’s effectiveness.

Sponsored by council members Elizabeth Pearson and Toni Iseman, the ordinance has its detractors, particularly council member Kelly Boyd, who voted against the proposal.

“Let’s say you pull a young man over and he’s not wearing his helmet,” asked Boyd on Tuesday, directing his query at LBPD Chief Paul Workman. “That officer has to get the information on the young man, has to confiscate his board, has to take it down to the police station, has to enter it … how much time are we taking away from that police officer by confiscating a skateboard from this child?”

Workman said that checking each skateboard into the department’s computer system “would probably take about 30 minutes of staff time,” and said that over a six-month period, about 30 citations had been issued to helmetless skaters.

(Assuming my math is correct, that’s 30 hours over a one-year period which the LBPD would be spending just to check in skateboards.)

“Kids are still going down Park Avenue without helmets,” said Pearson Tuesday. “The point that Toni and I were trying to make here is that we’re serious about this. Maybe it will make it more painful if we take their skateboard away for a week.”

“This is about safety and avoiding a tragedy,” said Iseman. “Skateboarders are hard to see. Some don’t stand up when they skate, they come shooting out of driveways.”

“My hope is that [the law] will encourage children to wear their helmets,” said Mayor Jane Egly, who also voted for the law. “I just can’t imagine some little kid falling or being hit and their brains all over the street.”

Lone dissenter Boyd wasn’t having it.

“I really have a hard time with confiscating somebody’s skateboard,” said Boyd. “I see kids all the time not wearing helmets, and I think it’s foolish for them not to be wearing them, but the time it’s going to take for police officers … we’re asking the police to literally become babysitters.”

“I’m all for helmets and all for ticketing,” local skateboarding advocate Chad Gibbs told the council. “What I’m not for is segregating against skateboarding. Say there are two kids riding down a mountain road, one on a bike, one on a skateboard, each not wearing a helmet. You take the skateboard, but you don’t take the bicycle? How can you justify that? Please don’t pass this law unless it applies to everybody, it’s just not right.”

The ordinance passed, 4-1.

Note: As stated above, confiscations will apply to everyone, no matter what age. Previous stories on Patch—this one and this one—said that confiscations would only apply to those under 18. We regret the error.

Laguna Streets October 19, 2012 at 12:53 AM
One evening later the Planning Commission of San Clemente approved their Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, a chapter of the San Clemente General Plan. In it a provision for skateboarding was made, it says” The City will recognize skateboarding as a legitimate form of transportation and accommodate it in its transportation policies and where appropriate in street and other public improvements.” Laguna and San Clemente are two neighbouring beach cities sharing the same topography, Pacific Coast Highway, and Pacific Ocean yet they are worlds apart on non-motorized transportation policy. For more details on the adopted Plan, see LagunaStreets.blogspot.com.
Kirk Kelley October 19, 2012 at 04:24 AM
There will be a recall effort for a couple of our "oh so helpful" council members. Tsk tsk.
Mark B October 20, 2012 at 05:34 AM
why recall? two of them are up for election in a few weeks. start there if you disagree...
mocker November 12, 2012 at 10:23 PM
mocker November 12, 2012 at 10:29 PM
You will raise people who think be alive is tantamount to living life. Ban boarding and all sports if ending injuries is the main goal. It isnt. Looking busy on the city council on what should be a part time job is what this is all about. Let kids and especially adults and parents decide what is best for them. Let them learn the hard way if need be. Skateboarding like most sports is all about the thrill, not the safety. There is no need for a skateboard in society. It was a way for young men in the 70's toprove their prowess and skill like little warriors do in tribes. They cant drive as adults do so they come up with cool exciting ways to get around. Now you ball break and turn it into just another transportation concept. Ok so they will get high instead, or even more. Take away all juvenile rights and we can save all youth from all bad decisions. But then you got to save them from us. The PC society thats ruining them.


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