Council Bans Skateboarding on Steep Canyon Roads
BY BILL KOENEKER
The Malibu City Council, by unanimous vote this week, agreed to outlaw skateboarding on the city’s narrow, winding canyon roads where media attention has focused on the growing popularity of skateboarders careening down steep hills.
Several speedboarders came to the council to urge them to reconsider the ban, suggesting their background as parents, their responsible citizenship and their insistent focus on safety should be brought into the equation.
However, that did not fly with Councilmember Jefferson Wagner, who said, “These are three responsible skateboarders. But for every three, there are a dozen that are not safe. I have a residence on Latigo. I know,” he said.
Councilmember Pamela Conley Ulich said she is a bike rider who likes to ride on such steep roads such as Decker Canyon Road. She said she wanted the ban clarified.
City Attorney Christi Hogin said the law would still allow skate boarding on sidewalks, and designated bike lanes, but not on public lands and not on public roadways.
Council members were told the impetus for the new law originated with the California Joint Powers Insurance Association, the city’s insurer, which contacted the municipality due to recent articles about skateboarding in Malibu.
“Many other cities have also had this activity take place, some of which have resulted in injury and litigation,” said the city’s Administrative Services Director Reva Feldman. “In order to prevent possible injury to members of the public and to protect the city from possible litigation, CJPIA has suggested that the city adopt an ordinance prohibiting skateboarding and other similar activities in certain areas of the city and in particular on public streets.”
Feldman noted another city suffered a seven-figure judgment against it after a skateboarder hit a rough patch in the road and his family successfully sued.
The staff suggested certain canyon roads be posted and advised that if other city streets pose a hazard they would return to the council for review.