Debbie Pitman: Longboarding not safe for recpaths |

Debbie Pitman: Longboarding not safe for recpaths

Debbie PitmanSilverthorne

I found the in the June 8 Summit Daily regarding “Summertime Shredding” to be quite interesting. While it may be the newest sport, it most certainly poses a serious danger to all the recpath users, particularly those who use the Tenmile Canyon path.

As pointed out in the article, a long boarder “is able to pick up some serious speed.” To quote Matti Wade: “I like to call it the point of no return, 15-20 miles per hour and you can’t jump off because you can only run so fast once you hit the ground. Once you hit the point of no return, you’re staying on.” Staying on to run out of control downhill and hope you don’t hit anyone! That doesn’t sound safe to me. Even when a boarder is able to jump off, the board continues out of control. Those who use the longboard as a luge have even less control.During peak tourist season, there are families who rent bikes with their little kids, walkers and recreational cyclist, all sharing the recpath. As we all know, it can be quite crowded at times. Yes, some of them do not ride safely, especially the Vail Pass coasters, but at least they have brakes! When they stop, the bike doesn’t keep going.The article talks about the fun of “carving.” It requires a lot of space and there just isn’t room to do this on the narrow recpath. During busy times there is barely enough room for two-way traffic, let alone someone taking up the whole path by weaving back and forth. Boarding and carving with tunes cranked up so loud it’s impossible to hear anyone who calls out while attempting to pass just doesn’t work. Use of the “big sticks” is another reason why longboarding is an unsafe sport for the recpath. Just as carving uses up space, so does the big stick, particularly if held horizontally for balance. I have come across boarders three abreast, taking up both sides of the path, sticks held horizontally, tunes cranked up to the max. There is pretty much no way to get around them. I admit, this is no better than the cyclists who ride two or three abreast on the path, but at least they can move when someone wants to pass. How about insurance? I am guessing many of these riders would not have insurance should they injure someone else. If a rider was to hit another recpath user, especially a small child, no doubt someone would be seriously injured. It could happen to anyone of us.Although longboarding is terribly unsafe, I respect everyone’s right to use the recpath – safely! Perhaps longboarding could be limited to off-peak hours during high tourist season; say 7-9 a.m. and after 6 p.m.? Is there a way to enforce such a rule?As of now, it still stands as a very dangerous sport to be allowed on the recpath.

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