Skaters boosted in Breckenridge
Summit County Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
BRECKENRIDGE, Colorado ” Breckenridge skateboarders may soon be shredding the streets legally. Town council members last week gave its staff the go-ahead to prepare rules allowing skaters on most streets.
The council expressed concerns about safety, but decided the eco-friendly transportation method might be worth a try.
“We’re going out on a limb here,” council member Jeffrey Bergeron said to three skate enthusiasts in attendance. “We hope you don’t make us look like chumps.”
About 30 skateboard supporters attended a town meeting less than a month ago, suggesting policy changes and commenting that it seemed unfair for skaters to be ticketed when bicyclists are allowed on the roads.
Colorado law allows Breckenridge Police Department to ticket people riding skateboards on town streets, but few citations have been issued in the past year.
Under new rules, skaters would likely be allowed on all streets except Colorado Highway 9 and Main Street, as the state makes rules for the highway, and Main is heavily traveled.
The town’s status as a home-rule community allows it to create laws for acts otherwise prohibited by the state.
Police Chief Rick Holman said he plans to get feedback from the “skate community” before making suggestions for the ordinance.
He pointed out in a memo to the council that, unlike bicycles, skateboards don’t have brakes. A skateboarder recently lost control at an intersection and jumped off the board before it struck a car, creating a large dent in the vehicle.
Holman’s memo included ordinances from Steamboat Springs and Jackson Hole, Wyo., that allow for limited skateboarding.
In Steamboat Springs, skateboards and rollerskates, or in-line skaters, are allowed on streets not heavily traveled, and riders must be equipped with reflectors or lights from dusk until dawn.
Holman said the Breckenridge Police Department doesn’t support allowing skateboarding on the town streets.
“For me, safety concerns for both the skateboarder and the motorists on the road outweigh the transportation benefits achieved by a select few,” he said in the memo.
No other Summit County communities are considering allowing skateboards on their streets, he noted.
Concerns were raised at the council meeting regarding skaters losing control on the steep roads leading west to Main Street.
“There’s a lot of road needed to check (their) speed,” Mayor John Warner said.
But, council member Dave Rossi said he lived in San Francisco for several years; skateboarding was legal there and the riders were able to maintain control even on steep streets, he said.
Town attorney Tim Berry said the town will need to make signs alerting visitors to skateboards on the streets.