CARLSBAD — For now, inline skating in Carlsbad’s downtown corridor is not a crime.
Council halted adopting an ordinance that would amend the city’s existing restrictions on skateboarding to include inline skates, roller skates and “similar forms of transportation” to get more information about high pedestrian traffic times.
Currently, only skateboarders are barred from skating in the downtown village area and other public spots around the city where “no skateboarding” signs are posted.
First-time offenders can receive a $100 fine. However, whether on a skateboard or inline skates, all skaters are required to yield to the right-of-way and not interfere with pedestrians on nonrestricted sidewalks and places in the city.
The ordinance is designed to avoid accidents during the high volume times and places in the city, in particular the west side of Carlsbad Boulevard and the village area, where pedestrians, inline skaters and people with strollers fill the sidewalks, Carlsbad police Captain Neil Gallucci told the council Jan. 12.
“This is to prevent the high-speed travel, and skateboards, rollerblades, roller-skates, bicycles, they all get up to a certain speed which is not safe with pedestrians,” Gallucci said.
An Oceanside resident who regularly walks in Carlsbad contacted the city after he said he witnessed reckless behavior by inline skaters on numerous occasions.
Gallucci said it would take his department about a month to complete a study on high pedestrian times.
Additionally, Mayor Bud Lewis asked that police give a recommendation for a possible time frame when inline skaters could use the restricted areas legally.
In addressing the counsel about the proposal, Nina Eaton, a Carlsbad inline skater of 20 years, said she skates three to four days a week in the early morning hours and felt compelled to speak out against the proposal because it would directly affect her livelihood.
Eaton said she would like to be part of a discussion to find a positive solution to the amendment, which may even include inline skaters being legally able to skate during low-volume pedestrian hours.
Jim Young, a 20-year resident of Carlsbad, told the council inline skating in the city is part of his lifestyle.
The 51-year-old said restrictions on any type of skating or anyone outside exercising seem to be punishing people for getting outdoors and trying to take care of their health during a time when obesity is a national issue.
“We (Carlsbad) don’t want to be known as a city that does not get out there and stand behind the citizens when they’re out there trying to take care of themselves,” Young told the council.
“I feel a little disheartened that somebody from Oceanside comes to my city and tells me that I can’t take care of my health,” he added.