Petition Closed

Section 172 of the MVA currently forces anyone riding a skateboard to stay on the sidewalk, or marked crosswalk. On a flat, paved surface, skateboard or longboard riders can travel at 25km/hr with ease. On the narrow sidewalk with dogs, children, and members of the public including elders – it becomes difficult to share the sidewalk safely.

 

The Longboard Halifax Society (LHS) is a registered society with the Province of Nova Scotia (registry #3270564) would like to see the Motor Vehicle Act changed to reclassify skateboards and longboards into the same category as bicycles. For the safety of the Public, Commuters, and Athletes of Nova Scotia.

Letter to
Misiter of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Honourable Maurice G Smith
To the Honourable Maurice Smith

Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal

Re; requesting changes to MVA Section 172 to reclassify skateboards and longboards


Roller skates or skate board

172 (1) Subject to subsection (2), it shall be an offence for a person upon roller skates or a skate board to go on a roadway except while crossing on a crosswalk or unless on a roadway authorized by the Minister.

Section 172 of the MVA currently forces anyone riding a skateboard to stay on the sidewalk, or marked crosswalk. On a flat, paved surface, skateboard or longboard riders can travel at 25km/hr with ease. On the narrow sidewalk with dogs, children, and members of the public including elders – it becomes difficult to share the sidewalk safely.

The Longboard Halifax Society (LHS) is a registered society with the Province of Nova Scotia (registry #3270564) would like to see the Motor Vehicle Act changed to reclassify skateboards and longboards into the same category as bicycles.


Currently, there are problems sharing the road which put skateboard and longboard riders in great physical danger. Once reclassified, skateboard and longboard riders would be granted the same rights and privileges of bicycle riders to share the roadway, bicycle lanes, etc.

As skateboard and longboard riders are generally misunderstood by motorists, there is trepidation on the part of drivers which can cause problem. In some cases, drivers have not used signal lights resulting in injury to riders. One example LHS co-founders, Wayne Douglas, was hit head-on, by a car. This near-fatal accident resulted in Wayne receiving a ticket for skateboarding on the road, and the driver was not at fault. In the same situation with a cyclist, instead of a longboard rider, the driver would have been seen to be the one at fault and been appropriately fined.

Riders have developed a method of communication to alert others to oncoming traffic. I call it “The Wave.” When pushing down a flat straight away and you see traffic approaching behind, always wave them through this shows you’re in control not afraid to be around traffic, and prevents the motorist from developing rage from feeling trapped behind a rider.

Since the sport began in the late 1960’s skateboard has grown into a worldwide phenomenon and continues to rise in popularity. Longboarding has been developing alongside skateboarding, though with an entirely different type of community attached. In my experience, longboarders tend to be a very friendly, inviting community, which is very focused on the development of riders as well as the sport. In recent years longboarding has become one of the largest growing demographics of the sport. During this growth, the leaders of the world longboarding community (longboard companies and professional riders) have been heavily advocating rider safety. They continue to promote the safety standards; every rider should always wear a helmet, gloves, and know how to appropriately handle themselves in any situation.

The LHS is determined to follow their example, and our main focus is the safety and development of our community. We will accomplish this by hosting “safety sessions” where we will focus on teaching riders how to slide (a technique of artistic style and controlled braking using glove pads), developing their general skills, as well as properly educating them on longboarding safety. Ultimately, we would like to get a club membership with the IDSA (International Distance Skateboarding Association), which will give us many benefits one of which is insurance.

“The International Distance Skateboard Association (IDSA) is proud to announce and provide an incredible benefit to the Longboard community and its members. All IDSA Members can now receive an Excess Medical Insurance Benefit up to $25,000. Skateboarders can now have peace of mind and security for their safety when organizing gatherings. Whether you just skate from Point A to Point B, or you compete at the highest level, there is now an insurance policy in place when you support the official governing body for Distance Skateboarding.” – Accident Insurance for longboarders, Silverfish Longboarding.

There are several requirements to be met before we can apply, one of which is that we follow the local traffic laws. Since longboarding (or “skateboarding” as it is currently grouped under legally) is illegal on the road, we will not be eligible for this membership. This puts our community longboarders at a disadvantage. Its continued illegality will also dissuade some people from trying a new and fun sport, which is also a practical commuting tool. With the club membership, we would be eligible to obtain a coaching certificate, and be certified to teach people how to longboard.

The reclassification of longboarding on common roadways will also lead to a boost in sales to local businesses, through the growth of the local community, as well as opening Halifax to a demographic of “longboard tourists” who would be attracted to a city where longboarding is legal. The longboard community is extensive, with tens of thousands of people willing to travel across the world to attend/compete in events as well as see the local area. This increase in tourism would no doubt be of great benefit to the community.

The tourism increase can also be secured through creating a yearly special downhill longboard event which can showcase the stunning scenery of Nova Scotia.

With the increase in longboarders, cities around the world have been legalizing longboarding; Winnipeg, Alberta, Portland, New York City, Trinidad, Colorado, and Vancouver are only a few. This has allowed the local community to flourish. This is your answer to innovative transportation. We would like to see longboarding legalized as soon as possible, and we would like your suggestions on the process.

On behalf of

Directors of the Longboard Halifax Society

Longboard.halifax@gmail.com