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La Grande Observer Daily paper 09/15/14

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Home arrow Opinion arrow Our View arrow Be safe downtown

Be safe downtown

A small percentage of skateboarders and bicyclists in downtown La Grande are giving all skateboarders and bicyclists a bad reputation. It’s the No. 1 complaint from business owners now that summer vacation in under way. And it needs to be stopped. 

Developing new tricks and skills on a skateboard does not require riding willy-nilly down city sidewalks on busy shopping days with older people dodging and darting and being threatened with injury.

Remember, pedestrians always have the right of way. And in the historic district, bikes and skateboards are prohibited on sidewalks.

It’s not like there’s nowhere to ride. La Grande has a perfectly fine skateboard park at which to practice tricks.

The laws require bicycles to follow the rules of the road, just like motor vehicles. Riding on sidewalks is more dangerous than riding on streets, unless you are, say, 9 and younger. Cars turning at intersections, or from streets, alleys and driveways pose safety risks. What’s more, there is often way more congestion on sidewalks, especially on busy shopping days.

People can walk their bikes or carry their skateboards on the sidewalks until they get to a safe place to ride or board. 

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