© N. Kelly
Local law enforcement are concerned that steep and winding mountain roads like highway 360 north of Berwick are becoming a favorite spot for longboard skate boarders.
Kings District RMCP Const. Blair MacMurtery shakes his head when he thinks about the potential for harm to those taking part in longboarding on local roads, especially on highways leading up the Valley’s north and south mountains.
“There is no possible way you can be safe on a wheeled device like a skateboard going up to speeds of 50-70 km/hour,” explained MacMurtery.
The latest trend in mountain longboarding came to light in a video posted recently on social media showing longboarders racing down mountain roads in Kings County.
A longboard is greater in size in both length and width than its smaller counterpart, the skateboard. It reportedly offers more stability, traction and durability. The angles at which some longboards can turn, as well as their ability to coast long distances make them more suitable for cruising on streets than regular skateboards.
“A skateboard is a skateboard,” scoffed MacMurtery “and equipment and expertise won’t matter one bit given an unpredictable set of variables.”
These variables can include potholes or objects on the road, animals or vehicles.
“If you encounter one of these, things are going to go badly,” stated MacMurtery.
He confirmed RCMP have had two official complaints about longboarders on Highway 358 to Scots Bay and Black Rock Road and they have heard it is going on in other Valley communities and on roads including highway 360 north of Berwick and Rocknotch Road south of Greenwood.
It is illegal to skateboard on roadways and the penalty for a first time offence is a fine of $147.
In his role as community policing officer for Kings District RCMP, MacMurtery says he wants to be “pro-active” in dealing with this thrill-seeking trend in order to avert any potential injury to boarders and motorists.
“The safety of boarders, bystanders and motorists is paramount,” said MacMurtery, adding there is potential for severe life-changing injuries if “this dangerous activity” goes wrong.
RCMP are asking people to call in if they witness the activity.
“If we hear about it we can get a patrol out,” said MacMurtery.