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Kim Baldonado, Sean Browning
Skateboarder Alan Spurlock says the push by city councilmembers to get skateboarders off the streets and into skate parks won’t work. “They should build more local parks and stuff, and one that aren’t so with holes in them,” Spurlock says. A motion aimed at outlawing reckless skateboarding was passed 12-0 Wednesday, May 2. It will now be up to the City Attorney's Office to draft an ordinance for the council's approval. Kim Baldonado reports from San Pedro for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on May 2, 2012.
The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday approved a motion aimed at outlawing reckless skateboarding or "bombing."
"The fact is kids are dying," said harbor-area Councilman Joe Buscaino, who came up with the idea in February.
The ordinance -- which is yet to be drafted and makes no mention of rollerblades or inline skates -- would hold skateboarders to the same rules of the road as bicyclists and limit speeds to 25 mph. California law already requires skateboarders younger than 18 to wear helmets.
"Our other message is to highlight and encourage skateboarders to use our existing skate parks as well throughout the city," Buscaino said.
But some skateboarders say skate parks aren't safe if they're not maintained.
"They should build more local skate parks and stuff, and ones that aren't so with holes in them, and stuff," said skateboarder Alan Spurlock.
Buscaino, a former police officer, said the move was prompted by two deaths.
In January, Caleb Daniel Simpson, 15, was skateboarding downhill near Weymouth Avenue at the edge of Averill Park in San Pedro -- reportedly traveling in excess of 40 mph and without a helmet -- when he collided with another skateboarder and died at a hospital the next day.
In November, 14-year-old Michael Borojevich was injured while skateboarding near Western Avenue and 25th Street and died 11 days later, according to the Daily Breeze.
Bombing, or going down steep hills at high speeds, is popular in San Pedro because of the area's terrain. Skateboarders from around the country and the world come to San Pedro just to ride the hills, according to a police officer who addressed the City Council.
Buscaino's motion defines bombing as skating on city streets at "excessive speeds, sometimes obstructing traffic, and failing to yield at stop signs."
Police assigned to the Harbor Station have a "hot spot" task force whose officers ticket skateboarders for unsafe practices, but Buscaino said officers want an ordinance to deal with skateboarders specifically.
The motion passed 12-0. It will now be up to the City Attorney's Office to draft an ordinance for the council's approval.