Concerns growing over longboarding safety in Dallas



DALLAS -- The city of Dallas' 2010 lifting of the prohibition against longboarding on city streets has, for the most part, been a positive development.The city has even cohosted two successful longboard competitions, the most recent in the Bridlewood neighborhood during the summer of 2012.The growing use of longboards, however, has led to safety concerns among residents of popular riding spots.Theresa VanDusen, on behalf of herself and a group of neighbors living in Bridlewood Estates, has submitted a list of concerns to the city -- most regarding the risk of longboarders crashing with cars driving on Bridlewood Drive."With the weather improving, I want to figure out how do we coexist with kids and make sure nobody gets hurt," she said, stressing she doesn't want to see a ban on longboarding but perhaps some restrictions or other measures to protect longboarders and drivers.VanDusen's complaint included descriptions of longboarders exceeding 25-mile-per-hour speed limits, weaving over the center line on the road, and speeding around blind corners where neither the driver nor boarder can see each other until the last second."We are really worried about these kids," VanDusen said, noting that a high-speed accident involving a car and longboarder would be tragic. "I'm pretty sure the kid on the longboard is going to lose."Her issues were discussed at the city's Public Safety Subcommittee last week, however no recommendations for city code changes were made.According to a staff report prepared for the meeting, no accidents involving longboards were reported in 2012. It stated complaints have also come from residents living near Orchard Drive and Northwest Hillcrest Drive. The report also noted longboards are subject to the Oregon Vehicle Code.City Manager Ron Foggin said Dallas Police Chief John Teague and the members of the subcommittee felt comfortable with leaving the city's code as-is for now."The police department is not getting a lot of calls and is not having to respond to injuries," Foggin said.Foggin added the department committed to having its officers talk to longboarders seen riding in a reckless manner on city streets, however he doesn't anticipate there will be many citations issued."We are going to try to work with people without writing a ticket," he said.VanDusen acknowledges that Dallas officers' time would be better spent on other tasks, but with talk of another longboarding event in Bridlewood this summer, she is concerned more issues will arise.However, VanDusen said she was encouraged by a conversation she had with a few longboarders in attendance at the June 24 subcommittee meeting who offered to help "police" the situation themselves."I think it would be worth having that conversation first," VanDusen said. "I think that is the fair thing to do with the kids."



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