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A New Law is Pending for Skateboarders and Long-boarders

Jillian Gandsey | Staff Writer | 11-2-2011

Excellent news is potentially in store for those who enjoy the hobby of skateboarding or long-boarding.  Student senate has begun to make progress toward the legalizing skateboards and long-boards on campus.  Co-presidents Charlie Woodson and David Andrade have been working eagerly since the beginning of the fall semester for this mode of transportation to be an option to students.

“It’s the new bicycle,” claimed Woodson.  He and the other members of the senate are hopeful that this new law will be passed but first it must go through President Hanson.

For those who don’t know the difference between a skateboard and a long-board, it’s rather simple. A skateboard is only about 30 inches in length and a long-board is usually between three to six feet long.  Skateboards are typically always around the same length, while long-boards can fluctuate a little more with theirs.

In order for this new law to be passed, Student Senate wrote a memo to Dr. Hanson, which was sent to him on October 25.  First, he will review the memo and consider their reasoning for the legalization of skateboards and long-boards, which generally takes up to two weeks. If the new law is passed, it will be implemented immediately.  If it’s declined, then Dr. Hanson will give an explanation of why he is hesitant to make it legal.

BSU’s Department of Public Safety did state some concerns.  The Campus Security Supervisor, Joe Kleszyk stated, “there is an issue with damage to property, like on hand rails and on the pavement.”

The issue of safety was also brought up, not only to the skateboarders themselves, but also to those nearby.  Kleszyk made the comparison of a skateboard/long-board to a bicycle, saying that if you crash on a skateboard or a long-board it could go flying and injure something or possibly someone close by.  That couldn’t happen on a bike.

He also went on to say that BSU’s campus has already sustained damage from skateboarding and long-boarding that has been done illegally.

Woodson and Andrade understood that there would be hesitation on passing the law due to vandalism and safety.  They are hopeful that Dr. Hanson will overlook those negativities and see the advantages that skateboards and long-boards have to offer in regards to transportation.

The City of Bemidji was another issue that Public Safety had mentioned. Up until three years ago skateboards and long-boards were prohibited throughout the entire city of Bemidji.  Student Senate is responsible for changing that and making it legal within Ward 1 of Bemidji, where campus is located.  That being said, in order for the legalization, the law would just need to be passed by Dr. Hanson. Public Safety was unaware that it had been legalized in Ward 1.

Ward 1 begins at the shoreline of Lake Bemidji and goes until Minnesota Avenue.  It also stretches from Sixth Street Northwest to Nineteenth Street Northeast.

“Skateboarding has had a bad reputation in previous years, but now it has become more relevant,” claimed Woodson.