No prohibitions for skateboarders on Mammoth streets


Mammoth Lakes Police Chief Dan Watson opened up the skateboard regulation issue for discussion.

When the Mammoth Town Council met Wednesday night, they declined to prohibit skateboards on town streets.

Police Chief Dan Watson brought up the issue of potential regulation of skateboards for discussion.  He reminded officials and citizens of the death of a visitor when he fell from a skateboard on one of Mammoth’s streets. The Chief reported that this tragic event resulted in on-line discussion about riding skateboards on various roads.  The Chief had received complaints.

Chief Watson told the Town Council that the state vehicle code does not prohibit skateboards on streets but local authorities could through an ordinance.  Watson said other cities prohibit skateboards on all streets, some streets and sidewalks.

The Chief did point out that skateboarders could face the same kinds of violations as pedestrians such as impeding traffic.  Chief Watson made it clear he felt the whole topic was open for discussion.

Nine skateboarders stood up to object to regulation of what for many of them is their only mode of transportation.  Wave Rave owner, Steve Klassen, asked for no regulation and said to the Council, “Please don’t take away skateboarding in this town.”

Councilman John Eastman said that accidents do happen, but he was not interested in taking away a way of life and the rights of people to skateboard.  Councilman Skip Harvey said he could relate to the sense of freedom, the need for transportation and a physical work out. Harvey did ask the skateboarders in the room to set a safe example for others.

All of the other councilmembers agreed with no prohibition on skateboarders.  Mayor Jo Bacon asked for greater public awareness on the need for skateboarders to operate safely.


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23 Responses to No prohibitions for skateboarders on Mammoth streets

  1. Wayne Deja October 20, 2011 at 7:32 pm #

    I wonder how long Chief Watson is going to offer up possible solutions to problems his department has to respond to and deal with,only to be shot down by Steve Klassen,and others before he decides the animals are running the zoo up there.

    • kat October 21, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

      Steve sells skateboards and skateboard parts in his Wave Rave shop – so of course he was going to be negatively impacted in his wallet if the town council moved to limit skateboarding on town streets, sidewalks and bike trails…hmmm. Thank you to Jo Bacon for her idea and we hope that Chief Watson lights up the “click it or ticket” signs with a “beware of reckless skateboarders on our roads” message in addition to encouraging the public to dial 911 if they witness skateboards’ “sense of freedom” getting in the way of driver’s, biker’s and walker’s “sense of freedom, transportation, physical work out and lifestyle.” With the exception of Jo Bacon who we see out walking around town, I think the town council has no clue what is really going on out on the streets.

      • STEVEN October 22, 2011 at 7:58 am #

        Nor do you lady! Skateboarders win and Kat looses! WAHHHHHHH!

        • kaat October 22, 2011 at 10:34 am #

          Steven – sadly you missed the whole point of the skateboarding issues. Is wasn’t about someone winning or losing…it was about safety for EVERYONE who drives, bikes, walks AND skateboards on the town’s streets, sidewalks and bike trails. The issue was NOT about the reckless behavior of drivers, bikers or walkers – it was about the reckless behavior of some in the skateboard community. Your childish comment only hightlights how little regard you have for the safety of everyone in this town. I am an advocate for safety NOT an advocate against the skateboarders – only the reckless behavior by some of them. And it is disappointing that most of the town council decided that it was a non-issue. I for one will call the police next time I encounter a skateboarder gone-wild. I also will use my cell phone to take photos and video of the situation and sent it to Chief Watson.
          My suggestion is that all those who know that there actually is a problem with reckless skateboarders in this town do the same! So just know we are watching and we will be calling the police and turning our cell phones in your direction….just smile for the camera! PS: just for the record, my son skateboards so I am not unwise to the reality of the “sport”. Even he has made comments about what he has observed as “insane” and “stupid” behavior by reckless skateboarders! Even he sees it as a problem…the wisdom of kids. (there are two “kats” commenting here so I added another “a” to my user name).

          • Wayne Deja October 22, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

            kaat….We’ll see if the “skateboarders win” when one of them is a hood ornament on some vehicle….which will someday happen.

  2. Wayne Deja October 21, 2011 at 6:13 pm #

    Yeah,I guess Steve Klassen would have to find another source of income if that were to happen…..Oh,wait,he DOES have another source of income besides the Wave Rave shop,doesn’t he?

  3. k October 22, 2011 at 1:38 am #

    A news bite from The Sheet reads:

    “Council skates from prohibition on boards:
    There’s an immediate loss of innocence one experiences when you contemplate Mr. Ed hitting a pipe. We found this altered sign in the Lakes Basin”

    Shown is a sign with a horse on a skateboard smoking a pipe. I wonder who might have altered this horse trail sign…I guess it was some hiker or biker out for a stroll or ride with the family, right?!

    But I guess we really shouldn’t be attacking the lifestyle of said skateboarders…they have the freedom to do as they please in this town…………so says the town council. I really think that altered sign should become the new town logo! Or at least a bumper sticker sent out with the new ski passes! Might even boost tourism! We could all use more customers at His shops and others businesses around town.

  4. sierragrl October 22, 2011 at 10:10 am #

    Wow, I’m so impressed. Politicians who didn’t do the automatic knee jerk reaction… well done people!

    • kaat October 22, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

      can’t wait until it snows and you have to put your skateboards to bed until the spring…..then during the winter you can play take-out the tourists and the kids and the “old people” on the mountain with your snowboards….the fun never ends around there for the reckless ones does it? Enjoy, with the town council’s blessings of course!

      • Wayne Deja October 22, 2011 at 8:40 pm #

        Gosh,it sure sounds like a “fun”vacation spot up there in Mammoth Lakes for the family….tourists and visitors..AND locals having to dodge skateboarders on the streets during the Spring,Summer and Fall….and then,come Winter having to deal with the obnoxious,annoying and unruly snowboarders…both on the slopes during the day, and in the “village” if you happen to venture out after dark…Chief Watson….my condolences to you having to deal with this type of behavior.I’m sure this isn’t what you had in mind when you came to the high sierras.

        • sierragrl October 23, 2011 at 11:17 am #

          you are hilarious….I’m sure chief watson is concerned that his biggest problem is skateboarders riding their boards around town….what is this world coming to…the horror the horror…I feel pretty good about living in a town where that’s what people are worried about…although, I have to admit, never ONCE has anyone ever brought this up in conversation as a problem…

      • Ken Warner October 23, 2011 at 11:06 am #

        Yeah, I actually don’t like to go skiing much anymore. It’s like a war zone. Skiing used to be just fun. Now it’s like some sort of pissing contest. Who can be the most threatening.

        I dread the moment when I feel that sudden impact from behind and the last thing I see before I wake up in the ER are stars.

        There are ways to control the mountain so that unsafe skiers and boarders become more responsible and aware of the danger they pose to others but MMSA just seems to think that any demand for responsibility will diminish ticket sales.

        Those that have the most responsibility for safety on the mountain are the most derelict in those responsibilities.

      • sierragrl October 23, 2011 at 11:21 am #

        Hey, I’ve been ran into while skiing twice…both times by skiers…neither were youngsters either…not saying there aren’t irresponsible boarders up there, there definately are, but I think your brush is a bid too broad.

        • Ken Warner October 23, 2011 at 4:11 pm #

          Do people who read blogs have an attention deficit disorder?

          “…unsafe skiers and boarders …”

          Slow down and READ!!!

  5. Bemused October 23, 2011 at 8:08 am #

    Sometimes I feel like I’m getting old, cranky, and closed-minded. But then I read crotchety posts like Wayne’s and Kaat’s…

    Skate or die.

    • kaat October 26, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

      Bemused…, so you actually think that someone/anyone calling for “safe” skateboarding and snowboarding is “crotchety”. hmmm…don’t you just mean that the
      issue of safety is “boring” to those that want to thrill-seek? Most rules that keep us out of harms way are plain old boring topics….but those types of nuts and bolts guidlines are what make us a functioning society and community….yup, it’s boring….but there ya go….The only “request” was to have some reckless skateboarders not put innocent people in harms way and if they continued to so then there should be consequences…like tickets/fines….whatever.

  6. NTB October 25, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

    So, skateboarding is a crime, because someone has the potential to get hurt, even killed??

    Mammoth embraces all sorts of death defying sporting activities. Skiing, climbing, mountain biking, hiking, etc etc etc.

    So why outlaw skaters?

    Yes, they get as wild and crazy but some skiers do too. The skiers get kicked off the slopes or loose their lift ticke.
    So how about a compromise and ticket the skaters. Skating in traffic, blocking sidewalks, knocking over people etc.

    Most skaters are polite employed people. Most skiers are too.

  7. salblaster October 25, 2011 at 6:50 pm #

    whats the first thing that pops into your head when someone says mammoth , retirement community or azz kickin best skiing fun capital of the sierras. you party poopers who want to eliminate skateboarding should probably not live in what i consider the greatest resort community in california. roll on freedom riders

    • Rob October 26, 2011 at 9:18 am #

      Salblaster, You say Mammoth?

      I think snow skiing, bankruptcy, illegal aliens, sanctuary city, and high prices.

      • upthecreek October 26, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

        @ Rob
        You read my mind..I would add one thing PENSIONS and overpaid government employees.. Sorry that is 2 things

        • Rob October 27, 2011 at 10:47 am #

          Even Jerry Brown has jumped on the pension reform bandwagon by saying the state can no longer afford its current retirement system.

          I think what ever he does won’t be enough and the ship will continue sinking.

          and there’s probably no saving TOML. Let’s just make sure the rats stay on the ship when that one sinks.

  8. kaat October 26, 2011 at 10:12 am #

    When did anyone say “eliminate” skateboarding? Not once! Please pay attention – this was always a “safety issue” NOT a “let’s get rid of skateboarders” discussion. My son skateboards too. “Safety” is never a “value” that goes out of style – it is what keeps our town a great place for locals and tourists.

    I snowboard too, as do my kids….but we always watch out for the other skiers and boarders on the mountain – staying clear of others enjoying the mountain…..However, those boarders that like to see how close they can get to others before speeding away ruins it for everyone up there. And, as always, I speak from personal experience about getting hit on the mountain by boarders…and there was never a “hey, I am sorry” from any of them. I have never has a near miss with another skier.

    Bottomline: It is so much fun to be a kid (teens and 20-somethings+), to feel like nothing you do can harm you….I get that….I remember that. However, when you are around others on your skateboards, snowboards, skis you do have a responsility to make sure those that are around you are not negativity impacted by your daring behavior….You see, they do not have a choice in the matter should your daring behavior go bad…when you hit a small stone in the road and suddenly fall in front of a car or a biker….when your game of let’s-see-if-I -can-get -really-close to that family in front of you on the slopes and you mistakenly catch an edge as you spray them with snow…..

    I am never in favor of prohibiting “fun”……but when the “fun” has the possibility of hurting innocent bystanders….then I must speak up and, if necessary, get the police involved to send a message to the few fun-lovers that are ruining it for everyone.

    You know that you can make a difference in your circle of skateboarder and snowboarder friends….you can decide to be an example of respecting the safety of those you skateboard, snowboard and ski around. Maybe you can decide that respectful behavior is what you are all about…..just saying that you have a choice in how you personally choose to live – And that endangering others with daring behavior is a choice, not a requirement of your skateboarding and snowboarding lifestyle.

    See you on the hill.

    • Charles James October 26, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

      Kaat, that was very well said.

      Sadly, boorish and rude behavior is now an accepted norm in a society bereft of core values such as compassion and concern for others or even a simple application of the “Golden Rule”. It’s not just limited to young people- they learned it from someone, somewhere.

      When adults begin behaving more like adults, maybe the behavior of our children will improve as well.

      Again, what you said was right on the money.


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