Changes to skateboard ban delayed
- *** Changes to skateboard ban delayed ***
Grand Coulee, Washington -- 10/31/2003
~Councilmember wants more clarity~
Changes on a ban on skateboards, bicycles and other vehicles
in the town of Coulee Dam was scheduled to pass before a
clearer ordinance was requested.
"I have a problem with the ordinance as adopted,"
said Councilmember David Schmidt at the Oct. 22 council meeting.
He referred to an Oct. 8 ordinance that banned skateboards,
bicycles and other recreational vehicles from parts of Coulee Dam.
He had arrived after the passage of the ordinance at the Oct. 8
council meeting and could not comment on it at the time.
Several changes to the ordinance were prepared for a council
vote at the Oct. 22 meeting, but the council decided not to
approve the changes yet.
Schmidt said the ordinance was still too
ambiguous and more changes were necessary.
The law passed Oct. 8 banned skateboards, bicycles, roller skates,
coasters or any other recreational vehicle propelled solely by human
power on any street, alley, sidewalk, park or publicly owned lots in
the central business district.
The new ordinance would have specifically banned the operation
of skateboards, bicycles, roller skates and scooters in all areas
of the central business district - except the streets.
Town officials stated that an error had been made in the
ordinance and the amended ordinance would have corrected that.
Schmidt, however, said the boundaries of the central business
district need to be made clearer and the police should not be
given control over deciding who has broken the ordinance
without knowing where to enforce it.
People believe that they can't ride in town,
said Councilmember Steve Chapman.
Mayor Quincy Snow said he would set specific boundaries in
the ordinance stating what is classified as "the central business
Schmidt said he also wants more discussion with town
attorney Mick Howe and more comments from the public.
The ordinance also states that anyone operating a skateboard,
bicycle, rollerskates, scooter or any other recreational vehicle
in other parts of town must obey traffic control signs and other
control devices that motorized vehicles follow, unless otherwise
directed by the police.
They must also operate the recreational vehicle in a non-negligent
manner. A negligent manner includes failure to obey traffic control
signs, failure to yield a right-of-way to pedestrians or traffic and
So far, no skateboarders or their parents have attended the
twice-monthly Wednesday night meetings when the council
has discussed the ordinance. But several people have written
letters to the editor at The Star denouncing the law.
The next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 12 at 7 p.m.
The council passed the ordinance after Harvest Foods owner
Ray Duclos said that a skateboarder nearly ran over a customer
in front of the store.
Snow said concern for the safety of the skateboarders
and others led to the passage of the ordinance.
He said a skateboarder riding down Aspen Street
was nearly hit by a car recently.
There have been close calls, Schmidt said.
He added that he understands the need for
an ordinance but doesn't want it to be an "anti-youth" ordinance.
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